Wednesday, December 6, 2023

MSU football announces Ford Field as final game location, decision receives backlash

May 24, 2023
<p>Sophomore safety Darius Snow (23) tackles Penn State's junior running back Devyn Ford (28) in MSU's match against the Nittany Lions at Spartan Stadium on Saturday, Nov. 27, 2021.</p>

Sophomore safety Darius Snow (23) tackles Penn State's junior running back Devyn Ford (28) in MSU's match against the Nittany Lions at Spartan Stadium on Saturday, Nov. 27, 2021.

Photo by Chloe Trofatter | The State News

Michigan State University football released details regarding the final game of the regular season today, but the decision proved to be controversial as fans quickly took to social media to both criticize and praise the move. 

The announcement 

The game will be on Black Friday, Nov. 24, against the Penn State Nittany Lions at Ford Field in Detroit. It will have a primetime kickoff set for 7:30 p.m. and will be televised on NBC and streamed on Peacock. 

Athletic Director Alan Haller said in the release that the move was made in part because the matchup fell on a holiday weekend. 

"Southeast Michigan is home to 100,000 alums, nearly 50 percent of our student body and countless more Spartan fans,” Haller said. “Our men's basketball team has experienced tremendous support in Detroit, both at Ford Field and Little Caesars Arena, and we're excited to bring Spartan Football to our fans in the Motor City. ... We anticipate that the experience will be so much more than a football game for our Spartan faithful.”

Haller said the decision was given careful consideration because of its impact on fans. However, season ticket holders, he said, would still have a “strong collection” of six home games, the same number as the 2021 season. 

This is the first time since 2010 that the green and white will return to Ford Field. The Spartans are 2-0 all-time in the city of Detroit; they defeated Florida Atlantic University 30-17 13 years ago and blanked Wayne State 32-0 back in 1944 at University of Detroit Stadium.

Criticism from fans 

Some social media users took issue with the fact that the game will no longer be a part of the season ticket schedule.

Instead, Spartan Fund donors and season ticket holders will be able to purchase tickets in Spartan Fund donor priority order. There will also be a designated section at the stadium for MSU, with priority given to students who have a season pass. On-sale dates for tickets are yet to be announced. 

Even though refunds will be issued to student season pass owners and season ticket holders, fans were not happy to lose a typical home game in East Lansing. Instagram users expressed their discontent under the social media announcement across various platforms:

“This was supposed to be my last home game as a student,” one commenter wrote. 

“They took a home game from season ticket holders and student athletes,” a Twitter user wrote. “It also took home field advantage away opening the door for way more PSU fans … Maybe it’s an ok business decision but it’s a bad fan/football decision.” 

Fans said the move was also a disservice to seniors who will be celebrating senior night at the game. 

“I bet the seniors are ecstatic,” one Twitter user wrote. “Think about it - Senior Night, their last game in the jersey, walking out of the tunnel to Spart… Ford Field. For the first time ever. Sick. Chills. An experience they will talk about forever, negatively.” 

“It’s about money probably but sheesh, taking away senior day at Sparty Stadium from the seniors is a heck of a decision,” another person tweeted. 

Others complained about playing in an indoor stadium, claiming snow is an iconic aspect of the final Big Ten games. 

“The best thing about this game is the weather,” a fan wrote under the Instagram announcement. “Absolute snow fest and if you don't love that, go to any other game during the season. This game is meant to be played in EL.” 

Fans were also upset because the game will displace high school football state championships and will not be held on a typical Saturday, as well as the fact that Ford Field holds fewer people.

Positive reactions 

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Though many sports fanatics were upset with the decision, others rejoiced and defended it. 

“Ford Field is awesome and this will be a cool opportunity for players and fans,” one Twitter user wrote. 

Some said the move will not have a negative impact because college students will be home for Thanksgiving break during that time. Others argued that since such a large number of MSU students and fans are from the Metro Detroit area, it will be easier for them to come. They also won’t have to endure the cold and snow or freezing rain because it will be inside, fans said. 

“Takes away a home game? Spartan Stadium would have been a ghost town for that game. This is a great move,” a Twitter user wrote. 

In the press release, MSU head football coach Mel Tucker shared his opinion regarding the decision. 

“This is an exciting opportunity for our program to play in prime time on a holiday weekend,” Tucker said. “Our players will be able to compete in an NFL environment while being showcased in the national spotlight. I'm looking forward to our fans creating a loud atmosphere and giving us a home-field advantage at Ford Field.” 


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