If you have a high Spartan Fund donor status, but not the seats to match, then you may be excited about the news out of East Lansing! Spartan Stadium will be expanding its field level club seating by almost 500 seats. The seats will be installed and ready for the 2021 football season.
Currently the club seating at field level starts on the east side of the stadium at the aisle in section 10 and extends to the aisle in section 7. The expansion on that side of the stadium will extend seating out to the aisle in section 6. On the west side behind the Spartan bench, it will extend out to the aisle in section 26 and to the aisle in section 21, extending almost end zone to end zone now.
The chair back seats extend up to the seventh row and offer wider seats, extra leg room, and in-seat concession delivery of the world class gourmet concessions offered to fans. No word yet on if soft pretzels are included for the far flung seats of this new expansion in relation to the soft pretzel stall added outside section 8 in 2019.
For any history buff of Spartan Stadium out there, one might recall the Michigan State Spartans Athletic Department releasing the long term master plan for Spartan Stadium in 2013 while the north end zone expansion was under construction. Some of the features in that plan have already come to fruition such as expanded creature comforts like the added bathrooms in the south end zone opened in 2017.
Overall, the the master plan discussed in 2013 was originally created back in 2000 when the school was making plans for the then west side stadium tower expansion that opened in 2005. Included in the eventual possibilities for the stadium that opened back in 1923 was to someday add a wrap around upper deck in the south end zone to expand capacity of the stadium. Also in the potential works would be a mirror tower for club and suite seating on the east side of the stadium.
Since that initial plan was created, however, the athletic department has cautioned that any such ideas are far, far in the future. Instead, the goal for now is actually reducing capacity over the coming years to around 70,000 total from the current capacity of 75,005. While Spartan Stadium has averaged top-25 attendance for 63 seasons prior to COVID-19, Michigan State fans have not averaged full capacity in a season even during the height of the Dantonio era (peaking at 74,681 in 2014).
The goal in mind with that reduced capacity aligns perfectly with the stated goal of MSU toward being the most comfortable venue in the Big Ten rather than the biggest (essentially the polar opposite of Michigan). Of course, some of the other amenities that are needed for that are not in the discussion, but at least you can get “Ben’s Soft Pretzels” in one singular part of the enormous lower level concourse!
No official word has been cleared on what the new capacity of Spartan Stadium will be with the new seating. When asked the question directly after the announcement, an athletic department spokesman offered the following:
Any impact on total capacity will be very minimal.
Spartan Stadium’s seating capacity is the sixth-largest among the Big Ten’s 14 football stadiums, trailing Michigan’s “The Sh*t House,” I mean, “Big House” (109,901), Penn State’s Beaver Stadium (106,572), OSU’s Ohio Stadium (102,329), Nebraska’s third largest city (91,145) and Wisconsin’s Camp Randall Stadium (80,321). Iowa’s Kinnick Stadium is next in line behind Spartan Stadium with a listed capacity of 69,250.
Updated: Sept. 9, 2021
We have the official count, finally. The new seatbacks have shrunk capacity in Spartan Stadium by a total of 139. It is down to 74,866, from its most recent capacity of 75,005.