Michigan Stadium, nicknamed the Big House, is the football stadium for the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan. It was built in 1927, at a cost of $950,000 and had an original capacity of 84,401. Prior to playing football at the stadium, the Wolverines played on Ferry Field. Today, Michigan Stadium has an official capacity of 107,501, though football game attendance often exceeds 111,000 when bands, stadium staff, and others are added. The largest crowd in stadium history was 112,118 on November 22, 2003 for a game against Ohio State. This is also an all-time NCAA record for people at a football game.
It is the largest American football stadium in the world and the 29th largest sports venue in general (most of the larger ones are auto racing tracks or horse racing tracks). The one "extra seat" in its capacity was "reserved" by former head coach Fritz Crisler for the then athletic director Fielding Yost, although its location is not specified. Home games are invariably sellouts, and residents of Ann Arbor are aware of "football Saturdays" because of the influx of traffic and business at local establishments. The size of the crowd in the stadium nearly matches the city's population of 114,000.
Michigan Stadium was designed with footings to allow the stadium's capacity to be expanded beyond 100,000. According to the University of Michigan Library's and Athletics Department's history of the stadium, then-athletic director Fielding Yost envisioned a day where 150,000 seats would be needed. To keep construction costs low at the time, the decision was made to build a smaller stadium than Yost envisioned but include the footings for future expansion.
As of November 17, 2006, the University's Board of Regents has approved a renovation and expansion project for Michigan Stadium which is expected to be completed by 2010. The project includes replacement of some bleachers, widening of individual seats, widening of the aisles and installing hand rails, and the addition of 83 luxury boxes and a new press box. The stadium's official capacity at the conclusion of this project is projected to top 108,000. This renovation plan has garnered serious opposition from students, alumni, and fans around the country.