By PAT EATON-ROBB, Associated Press
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) _ The University of Connecticut plans to add more than 2,000 temporary seats to its 40,000-seat football stadium for September’s game against Michigan.
The seats are needed, because UConn agreed to provide 5,000 tickets to the Wolverines for that game, 2,000 more than the normal allocation to visiting teams, UConn spokesman Mike Enright said Friday.
“We obviously can’t sell season tickets without the Michigan game in them,” Enright said. “So it would pretty much make of the difference, and allow us to sell the same number of season tickets.”
Enright says plans are still in the early stages, but the seats likely will be erected in the open area behind the west end zone of the stadium.
The Sept. 21 game is the second half of a home-and-home series with Michigan. The Wolverines beat the Huskies 30-10 in Ann Arbor in 2010, the first game played after major renovations to Michigan Stadium. The attendance at that game was 113,090.
Michigan had talked to Connecticut about moving the game out of East Hartford to a larger stadium to accommodate its alumni in the Northeast.
But the game is the marquee matchup on UConn’s home schedule, and Connecticut declined.
The state of Connecticut, which owns the stadium, also would have had a say in any plan to move the game. The lease agreement between the state Office of Policy and Management and UConn explicitly requires the Huskies play all of its home football games at Rentschler Field through June 30, 2023.
Under the deal, the state could have sought an injunction or financial compensation if the game had been moved. A 2008 report from the state Office of Legislative Research estimated the loss in profit to the state for moving a game would be approximately $500,000.
Michigan could have bought its way out the game contract for $2 million, but Dave Brandon, the school’s athletic director, told AnnArbor.com last August that the school would not do that.
“We agreed to play them, we negotiated the contract, my predecessor did that and I’m not going to come in and screw up (UConn’s) schedule and then run around trying to find another game,” he said at the time.
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