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Stadiums Provide a Winning Guest Experience

By Roger Gordon

Sport stadiums, those cavernous homes to professional teams and hot dogs, popcorn and beer, can also make outstanding meeting and event spaces. 

Stadiums often offer state-of-the-art amenities designed to impress clients and foster camaraderie. Especially in Michigan, where sports fandom runs rampant, just knowing a meeting or event is slated for a stadium can boost enthusiasm and attendance.

Here are five stadiums eager to host your next meeting or event. 

Michigan Stadium, Ann Arbor

The Big House is nearly a century old, but you wouldn’t know it in its meeting and event space. The stadium was made available for private events in 2011, and all of its spaces are indoors.

“Guests usually go down to visit the field and locker room as part of their event,” says Katy Hepner, special events coordinator for Michigan Athletics. “A tour of the stadium is an additional item that can be included.”

Amenities include Wi-Fi, wireless microphones and television screens for presentations. Groups must use the in-house caterer or one of the stadium’s select caterers.

“Guests enjoy being in a place that has so much history and tradition behind it,” Hepner says. “It’s the biggest stadium in the country. To be in there overlooking the field where many famous people have played is really cool.”

Hepner says a recent visitor to the stadium told her the aura there and the spectacular view of the field took his breath away. And that was an Ohio State fan! 

Michigan Stadium’s available spaces include:

  • The Jack Roth Stadium Club, which can accommodate up to 500 guests for a seated dinner or up to 650 for a cocktail party. 
  • The Regents Guest Area, which can host up to 90 guests seated or up to 140 standing.
  • The Athletic Director’s Suite, which can host up to 42 guests standing.
  • Eighty suites that each can host up to 12 guests seated or up to 24 standing.
  • The Junge Family Champions Center, which is connected to the stadium and is the only space that does not have a view of the field and which can host up to 200 for a seated dinner or 300 guests standing.

Fifth Third Ballpark, Comstock Park

Fifth Third Ballpark is the home of the West Michigan Whitecaps, the Detroit Tigers’ Class A affiliate. The park’s crown jewel is its Pepsi Stadium Club, just above center field. The club’s only year-round private event space is a 3,600-square-foot area that can accommodate up to 175 guests seated or up to 225 standing.

The Super Suite, also indoors but seasonal due to winterization, can host up to 25 guests seated or up to 40 standing.

Outdoors offers seven event spaces—on field level, upper level and even the roof—that can accommodate groups from 75 to 300 guests seated or 100 to 300 guests standing.

“You can see the field from all seven spaces,” says Corporate Event Sales Manager Alanna Klomp, CMP. “Some of the areas are covered with tents or awning,”

Team-building activities include softball and kickball. Groups must use the in-house caterer. 

Ford Field, Detroit Ford

Field, domed home of the Detroit Lions, is the place to take a massive group. (If Beyonce’s fans can fit here, your guests probably can, too.)

The facility offers 12 primary event spaces. The Atrium and Adams Street flow together and can accommodate up to 1,200 guests seated or up to 2,000 standing. The other spaces can host from 10 to 450 guests seated or 10 to 500 standing. Smaller suites and conference rooms can be used as breakout areas.

“We have really elegant spaces for private events,” says Laura Kacir, director of sales for Levy Restaurants, the stadium’s food and beverage partner. “They’re just gorgeous.”

Events can be held on the field, too, both for intimate gatherings and for groups as large as 8,000 standing or 5,000 seated. Tours of the stadium are available as an add-on based on availability.

Amenities include full-service audio-visual, Wi-Fi, the use of the large video boards and a parking garage attached to the building. Team-building activities include kicking field goals and interactive, inflatable games. 

Cooley Law School Stadium, Lansing

Cooley Law School Stadium is home of the Lansing Lugnuts, the Toronto Blue Jays’ Class A affiliate. Its front plaza, an impressive area that takes up the entire block, serves as a place for race starts, check presentations, major celebrations and company recognitions.

Additional spaces at Cooley include:

  • The View, located beyond the outfield, is an enclosed banquet facility that can accommodate up to 120 guests seated or up to 250 standing.
  • The Clubhouse, which can host up to 40 guests seated or up to 100 standing.
  • Five suites, each of which can accommodate up to 10 guests inside and up to 10 outside, and can also be opened into one large space for 50.
  • The concourse, which can host up to 500 guests seated or up to 1,000 standing, as well as up to 150 booths for trade shows.

On-the-field events occur regularly and can be tented, according to Events and Meetings Manager Malinda Barr. Stadium tours are available. Groups must use the in-house caterer.

Spartan Stadium, East Lansing

Spartan Stadium, on the campus of Michigan State University, may only have one private event space, but the Huntington Club—all 18,000 square feet of it—offers groups the full Spartan Experience. Located on the fourth floor, the club features a sideline view between the 20-yard lines with padded, extra-wide chair back seats that are open to the stadium. It can accommodate up to 500 guests seated or up to 900 standing. Amenities include a screen/projector and a live feed of events.

“From an amazing view of the stadium to exemplary catering services provided by our in-house caterer, we take Spartan pride to the next level,” says Heather Bailey, CPCE, CMP, CTA, sales and event manager for Spartan Signature Catering. “We have a talented team of nationally recognized, award-winning chefs and experienced catering professionals.”