Every cancellation is one less chance to
see the Michigan baseball team at
Fisher Stadium. Check out our website
to see the rest of the Wolverines' home
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APRIL 12, 2000
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Both the Michigan baseball and soft-
ball teams had games cancelled yes-
terday due to the mixture of rain and
snow that pounded the Ann Arbor
The softball team was supposed to
head up to Central Michigan for a
midweek doubleheader, while the
baseball team was scheduled to face
Ball State at Fisher Stadium.
Yesterday's cancellation marks the
third home baseball game that has
been called off for the Wolverines
this season. The home opener
against Eastern Michigan was halted
by unplayable field conditions, and
bitterly cold weather forced Bowling
Green to stay home.
The Wolverines travel to Toledo
today. First pitch is at 3 p.m.
Crisler hopes to move students closer
By Mark Francescutti
Daily Sports Editor
If all goes well in Michigan
Marketing Director's Tom Brooks'
eyes, more Michigan students will
have more to cheer about when next
men's basketball season comes around.
The Wolverines' main marketing
guru is currently working with
Michigan coach Brian Ellerbe to
change the students seating arrange-
ment by giving them more front-row
seats behind the Michigan bench.
The criticism of Crisler Arena has
gone on for years, from its shaky
sound system to a "tomb"-like atmos-
phere that can't even scare a mouse,
much less opposing teams.
But Brooks hopes to change that.
And when trying to build excitement
at games, both he and Ellerbe know
who to look at - the students.
"Students are one of the most
important factors to our team's suc-
cess," Ellerbe said this season. "We
want the students to have a good
The amount of student tickets and
the seating available for them is one of
the hottest topics regarding Crisler.
Students currently have only one front
row of seating, two rows total in the
lower bowl, and delve all the way to
the top of the upper bowl. Brooks'
plan would double the front-row
capacity for students.
Many other co'lege arenas, includ-
ing the Breslin Center at Michigan
State and Cameron Indoor Stadium at
Duke, have students seating arrange-
ments right next to the court in a long
row on one side of the hardwood or
behind one basket.
After selling almost 4,500 student
tickets and thousands more of split
season during the mid 1990s, sales
dropped to a mere 712 in the 1998-99
One of the biggest problems, other
than a 12-19 1998-99 season, was the
fact that Michigan students are still
'behind' their Big Ten brethren.
Brooks would like to eventually
move the students down all along the
court, but talks haven't started with
interim athletic director Bill Martin -
who is still learning the ropes - and
Michigan Ticket Manager Marty
B,odnar, who is handling football tick-
ets. At this point, Brooks said a
slighter change may make more sense.
"(Bill) is still coming up to speed on
issues." Brooks said. "The timing just
is not right now.
The drop in students tickets led to a
drop in overall attendance. Michigan
basketball now ranks ninth in the Big
Ten. Several coaches and players have
identified Crisler as one of the least
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The Maize Rage might have more to cheer about next season. The Michigan
Athletic Department hopes to extend the student seating area at Crisler Arena.
toughest places to play in a very diffi-
cult Big Ten road carnpaign.
But there is a lot of promise, from
the success of his Maize Rage T-shirts
given away to all student season-ticket
holders, to the loud, raucous crowds at
the Duke and Michigan State games
The marketing department won
over crowds with programs aimed at
entertaining the fans - from handing
out Jamal Crawford-style headbands
to offering free trips, paid tuition and
a big-screen television at halftime
"We felt that we came up with a
good response this year," Brooks said.
"We're trying to build on that. We
want to treat our students and make it
as easy and enjoyable as possible at
Brooks has several ideas for next
year, including working on the con-
cession stands. Michigan recently
began a multiyear contract with a new
food company, while some mainstays
at Crisler like Mr. Spots have dis
"We want to improve the overall
food options, especially finding
healthier alternatives. We're talking to
a bunch of companies right now.
Thankfully, (our concessions compa-
ny) has been open to new options -
things like maybe a 25-cent hot dog
night for students."
The marketing department will-s*
out surveys to all students, alumni and
general public ticket holders in late
May to get feedback on next season.
"We really want their opinions,"
Brooks said. "They know how to
Student basketball ticket applica-
tions will likely be sent with football
ticket packages, as they were last year.
Bodnar could not speculate on any
ticket increase for next year if a-se t-
ing change does take place, altho
any decision to raise prices would
likely be made by the athletic direc-
tor's office over the summer.
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