June 17, 2016
ANN ARBOR — Warde Manuel is well aware of the earning potential of Michigan Stadium. The first-year U-M athletic director just presented a budget to the Michigan Regents on Thursday projecting a spike in facility revenues from $4.6 million this year to $6.0 million in 2017.
Those extra funds are a result of the upcoming International Champions Cup match between Chelsea and Real Madrid on July 30 at the stadium. The deal includes a $500,000 rental fee, among other expected revenues.
Once again, the 100,000-seat stadium will bring a windfall of cash to the university.
With that — as it has with past events like 2014’s soccer game between Manchester United and Real Madrid, and the 2014 Winter Classic — the question comes of how else Michigan Stadium could be utilized.
In that regard, as of now, Manuel is treading especially lightly.
“It’s not my mindset to say we’re going to use Michigan Stadium to make money,” he said Thursday following his budget presentation to the Regents. “We want to look at opportunities where they exist, but I don’t step in with a philosophy of, I want to use Michigan Stadium to drive more revenue.”
This upcoming football season, Michigan Stadium will be used to host a three-day, seven-game “Battle at the Big House” to open the high school football season in Ann Arbor. The 14 schools involved will cover the estimated $60,000 cost to use the stadium.
Additionally, a game between Paramus (N.J.) Catholic High School and Maryland’s St. Frances Academy will be held on Sept. 2. Paramus Catholic, the alma mater of notable U-M players Jabrill Peppers and Rashan Gary, is paying $10,345 in rental fees.
In reality, those are not money-making events at Michigan Stadium, but instead opportunities to allow outsiders to use the facility.
Manuel said, while he’s open to those events, he would explore large-scale, revenue-producing events “on a case-by-case basis.”
“When revenue opportunities come or when we can be a good partner and do things in the community, we’ll look at it,” he said. “But my intent is not to utilize our facility just to drive additional revenue. Where we can, we will, but we’ll look at it on a case-by-case basis.”
As for the persistent question of whether Michigan Stadium could host a concert, Manuel said he’s not “vehemently opposed” to the idea.
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