There are many college football teams, fans and their surrounding communities that look forward to hosting night games. There is something about a huge matchup at night in prime time that gets fans excited and for good reasons. Anyone who has attended one of the three night games at The Big House know what the atmosphere can be like under the lights.
Michigan athletic director Warde Manuel spoke to the media on Wednesday about several topics, including alternate uniforms, building renovations, idea of retiring jerseys, night games and alcohol sales.
If you haven’t heard yet, they are not considering selling alcohol in the stadium anytime in the near future and the idea is off the table for now. There are, however, two games on the table to potentially be at night this fall, Michigan State and Minnesota. Is that a good idea?
Night Game Planning and Logistics
While Ann Arbor offers an amazing tailgate and game day experience for fans around The Big House, moving games to later in the day can cause several issues for prime time television views. Obviously, the big concern for fans and all that goes into the planning is safety. If you’ve been to the golf course or to one of the surrounding parking lots at 7 a.m. on a Saturday, you know how early the drinking begins. Night games also mean more business for local hotels, instead of people traveling to Ann Arbor only for the day.
Manuel commented on this idea along with the concerns and added planning that’s required. "Night games are different from the standpoint of increased staffing levels we have to have for safety, fan experience and just getting around. We have to add additional lighting to our areas and parking lots, the tailgating areas, all have additional expenses to make sure people are safe in this environment. And, obviously, the police forces, both university, Ann Arbor, Washtenaw and the state of Michigan, are in increased vigilance."
The planning has already started just in case as Manuel mentioned in his press conference. The notice only has to be 12 days prior to the game, so if that happens close to that deadline there is not much time to sort out all the planning. Another wrench thrown in the issue is per the new television contract, Michigan has to host three night games in a two-season span. The home game conference slate in 2018 includes Nebraska on Sept. 22, Wisconsin on Oct. 13 and Penn State on Nov. 3. Many fans may suggest two of those games be at night, but having two in 2017 means only a minimum of one guaranteed in 2018.
Below are my Twitter poll results.
Michigan Fan Poll: What night games would you like to see this season?— David Noe (@DavidRNoe) August 24, 2017
Fans, and also recruits on the west coast, may love the idea of night games so they can watch more, but the main priority for Manuel and Michigan is fan safety and keeping the game day experience what it is today.
What do you think?
Should Michigan have night games in 2017?
This poll is closed
Yes, Michigan State only
Yes, Minnesota only
Yes, both games
No, keep them both at noon or 3:30pm