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Posts Tagged ‘Ann Arbor’

Win a free house rental for homecoming weekend

Friday, May 8th, 2015

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Want an excuse to descend upon Ann Arbor for Jim Harbaugh’s first home Big Ten game? Or to return to your alma mater for Homecoming? Or simply upgrade your digs for a Michigan football weekend? Well have we got an opportunity for you. Rent Like a Champion — formerly known as Ann Arbor Football Rentals — is giving away a free house rental for homecoming weekend to one lucky winner. And that winner could be YOU!

The contest runs through the end of May and the winner will receive a rental from Friday, October 9 to Sunday, October 11. The house can accommodate up to seven guests and is just blocks from Michigan Stadium.

Imagine enjoying Ann Arbor on Friday night, then waking up Saturday morning just a short walk from the Big House, refreshed from a good night’s sleep in a comfortable house rather than a dingy hotel room. No need to pay for game day parking. No need to try to find a meeting place for the rest of your group. You’ll all be under one roof. You can hold your own tailgate in the back yard. Those are the benefits that Rent Like a Champion provides. And you could get it for free.

“We’re excited to help some Wolverines make it to Ann Arbor for homecoming without having to shell out for a hotel,” said CEO and Co-founder Mike Doyle. “We know how diehard Michigan fans are, and how widespread their fan base is, so our company is just happy to facilitate an awesome weekend for the group that wins.”

In addition to the contest, make sure to check out the rest of their listings for this fall. There are homes available for every home football weekend, including a current 14 homes available for Harbaugh’s first home game, ranging from $800 to $2,500 for the weekend.

“We provide an affordable and comfortable way for fans to travel to schools for game weekends,” Doyle said. “Rather than overpaying to be cooped up in separate rooms of a hotel, fans and groups can enjoy the comforts of a home with common areas, grills, kitchens and other amenities that make for a complete game weekend experience.”

The contest winner will be announced by Rent Like a Champion on June 1. Click here to enter.

Help a Michigan fan and son attend their first Michigan game

Thursday, August 14th, 2014

GraydonDo you remember the first Michigan game you ever attended? Of course you do. It’s a defining moment for any young Michigan fan in which a simple fandom becomes a lifelong love. For me, I’ll never forget taking in the splendor of the Big House while watching Tim Biakabutuka run rampant over second-ranked Ohio State in 1995, leading the Wolverines to a 31-23 upset.

I was 13 at the time and enjoyed every minute of my first Michigan football gameday experience with my dad and grandpa (a 1951 Michigan law grad). And while my grandpa passed away about 10 years later, that 1995 Michigan-Ohio State game is a moment that we shared that I can always look back on fondly.

So when Mike Andrews reached out to me looking for help getting him and his almost-seven-year-old son Grayden (pictured left) to their first Michigan game, it resonated with me. I look forward to the day I can take my daughter (currently three) to her first Michigan game, and I know I can make that happen when she’s old enough because we live a very short drive from Ann Arbor. For Mike and Grayden, it’s not that easy.

They live in San Antonio, Texas, and since he was 10 years old Mike has been hoping to go to his first Michigan game. Now 22 years later it still hasn’t happened and Mike finally decided that it’s time to make it happen and stop putting it off another year. So that’s where you come in.

Mike started a Kickstarter campaign to help fund their drive from Texas to Ann Arbor, their lodging, their tickets to the game, and any other expense that come with the trip. They also plan to visit Wrigley Field for a Cubs game, Busch Stadium for a Cardinals game, and Globe Life Park for a Rangers game en route to make this a truly unforgettable trip. In addition, Mike plans to document the whole trip and turn it into a video that he will give to Graydon as a gift. Who wouldn’t love to have had a video from their first Big House experience?

They plan to come up for the Utah game on Sept. 20, and with 18 days remaining on their Kickstarter campaign, they are still about $1400 short of their goal. A donation of any amount can help Mike and Graydon reach their goal of attending their first Michigan football game together. As with any Kickstarter campaign, there are prizes based on your level of donation, including a maize and blue AnArhbar t-shirt (that’s the way Graydon spells Ann Arbor) for a $25 donation.

You can view their video below explaining the campaign and their story in more detail. Click on the photo of Graydon, the link above, or the widget on the right sidebar to visit their Kickstarter page and make a donation.

*Disclaimer: I did not know Mike before he reached out to me. As mentioned above, his story resonated with me because of the experience I had at my first Michigan game almost 20 years ago and the experience I look forward to sharing with my daughter in the years to come.

A better way to stay for your Michigan football weekend

Wednesday, August 13th, 2014


Michigan football season kicks off in less than three weeks, and if you’re coming in for a game from out of town you’ve probably already realized how few good hotels there are in the Ann Arbor area. And if you haven’t booked one at this point, there may not be any rooms available. You may have to look outside of Ann Arbor, which would then force you to drive to campus on game day morning and drive back afterward. That’s where our partners, Ann Arbor Football Rentals, come in to help.

Ann Arbor Football Rentals allows Ann Arbor residents to rent out their homes for the weekend to those looking for a place to stay. As of now, there are 15 places available for the home opener against Appalachian State, many within walking distance of the stadium. There are currently five places available for the Under the Lights III game against Penn State and 15 available for the Homecoming game against Indiana on Nov. 1. In addition to Michigan’s home games, there are listings for the Slippery Rock versus Mercyhurst game on Oct. 18 and commencement next May.

The benefits of renting a house for the weekend instead of booking a hotel are convenience, comfort, and affordability. Renting a house allows you to gather friends and family together in one place as opposed to splitting up in multiple hotel rooms with no common gathering place. You can cook what you want, sleep more comfortably, tailgate, and in many cases walk to the stadium. Instead of dealing with a run of the mill hotel with uncomfortable beds, noisy neighbors, and a cheap continental breakfast, you can feel at home with your group and cook up whatever you want in the morning.

And if you live in Ann Arbor and would like to rent out your home for a weekend, consider Ann Arbor Football Rentals as a way to help cover the cost of your own weekend getaway.

The website is easy to use. You can search by date, price, number of guests, and distance from the stadium. Each property has several photos, a detailed description, a list of amenities, and a map of the location so you can make the best informed decision.

As a special gift for our readers, mention ‘MaizeAndGoBlue’ and Ann Arbor Football Rentals will give you $50 off your next rental. Have you rented from Ann Arbor Football Rentals before? If so, share your experience in the comments below.

Here are a couple of comments from those who rented last season:


Inside the Numbers: The biggest house of them all for 250 straight games and counting

Wednesday, November 6th, 2013

The first three editions of “Inside the Numbers” have analyzed statistics and records earned by Michigan coaches and players. This week’s feature has a slightly different focus. This column celebrates the students, the alumni, and the fans that have supported the Maize and Blue for the past 38 years. Their efforts likely will result in the achievement of a historic milestone this Saturday at Michigan Stadium.

College football is one of the most attended sports in North America. In 2011, 37,411,795 people walked through turnstiles to watch an NCAA FBS football game in person. An average of 46,074 attended each of these contests. These statistics ranked NCAA football second in total attendance behind Major League Baseball and second in average attendance per game behind the National Football League two years ago. Much of college football’s attendance success can be attributed to having games played regularly in 14 of the 15 largest football stadiums in the United States and having several of the most passionate fan bases in all of sports.

For decades, one school has set the bar for high attendance totals: Michigan. Fans have been pouring into Michigan Stadium to support the Wolverines each Saturday in the fall since it was erected in 1927. Although the venue was designed to seat 72,000 fans when it first opened, the Regents of the University of Michigan opted to incorporate former Michigan head coach Fielding H. Yost’s proposal that the stadium’s footings be constructed in a way that would permit future expansion. Yost foresaw a future when over 100,000 people would attend a football game in Ann Arbor, and he wanted to ensure that the possibility could one day become a reality.

When nearly 85,000 fans showed up for the inaugural game in 1927, it was a sign of things to come (photo from

In 1956, Michigan Stadium underwent its fourth expansion, which included the addition of a state-of-the-art press box, increasing the facility’s capacity from 97,239 to 101,001. On October 6 of the same year, Michigan Stadium—coined by legendary broadcaster Keith Jackson soon thereafter as “The Big House”—hosted over 100,000 people for the first time as the Wolverines took the gridiron to face their in-state rivals, the Michigan State Spartans. Yost’s vision from three decades earlier came to fruition.

Then, almost two decades later, the Michigan faithful initiated a streak that not even Yost could have dreamt. On October 25, 1975, the Maize and Blue ran through the tunnel at “The Big House” to battle the Indiana Hoosiers. A crowd of 93,857 watched the Wolverines dismantle the Hoosiers, 55-7. Why is this random blowout from the mid-1970s a historical game in U-M history? Because it is the last Michigan football game at Michigan Stadium that did not draw an audience at least 100,000 strong.

Since then, Michigan Stadium has had no less than 100,000 spectators enter its gates for 249 straight Michigan football games. In that 249-game span, 26,405,123 people sat down on the benches at “The Big House” to watch the men in the winged helmets play football. An average of 106,045 fans has attended each game during this decades-long streak. This average falls just shy of the maximum capacity of the second-largest football stadium in the country, Penn State’s Beaver Stadium.

To put into perspective how remarkable this streak is, no other school averaged at least 100,000 in attendance per home game in just one season until the Tennessee Volunteers did it 17 years ago in 1996. Michigan has done it for 38 years and counting.

In that time, Michigan has dominated every home attendance statistic imaginable. The Wolverines have ranked first in national average attendance in 36 of the last 37 seasons and are on pace to make it 37 of the past 38 after the 2013 campaign. The only year Michigan did not rank first was in 1997 when it trailed only Tennessee by just 90 people on average per game. Further, U-M even took the top spot in 2008 and 2009 when renovations reduced Michigan Stadium’s capacity from 107,501 to 106,201, despite that the capacity of “The Big House” had fallen below Beaver Stadium’s.

When the university completed the most recent renovations in 2010, Michigan Stadium had a new capacity of 109,901—the most of any football stadium in the nation—and attendance record after attendance record began to fall. The first football game in the renovated venue—Michigan’s 2010 season opener against Connecticut—drew a football record crowd of 113,090. Since then, U-M has reset the record twice with 114,804 against Notre Dame in 2011 and 115,109 against Notre Dame in 2013.

Attendance averages continue to drop nation-wide even at major programs like USC, but Michigan has managed to keep its streak alive

Additionally, since the NCAA began tracking attendance in 1948, Michigan Stadium has been the site for no less than the 30 most attended football games in that span, with each having a crowd of at least 111,000. In that process, Michigan has set and reset the NCAA single-season average home attendance record each of the past three seasons, with the 2012 season taking the top spot with an average of 112,252 spectators per home game.

Even more impressively, Michigan has set all of these attendance records during a time when college football attendance has slipped three of the past four seasons. This alarming trend does not appear to be ending anytime soon as attendance averages likely will drop for a third straight year in 2013. The dips in average attendance in those years may have been only minimal—two percent in 2009, 0.9 percent in 2011, and 1.2 percent in 2012—but photographs of in-game crowds have painted another picture. All one needs to do is look at this, this, this, this, and this to realize that these decreasing attendance figures are a serious problem for many athletic administrators and NCAA officials.

But it will not be a serious problem for Michigan. Although U-M fans have had multiple reasons to skip Michigan football games the past few seasons—poor on-field performance from 2008 to 2010, ticket prices skyrocketing, lack of appealing matchups in even-numbered years, harsh weather conditions, and the alternative of watching the game from the comfortable confines of one’s home with a high-definition television—the Maize and Blue faithful continue to commute to Ann Arbor from all over the state of Michigan and beyond to experience the Michigan Stadium atmosphere and watch the Wolverines play some good, old-fashioned football.

So why discuss Michigan Stadium’s attendance records this week? Barring unforeseen circumstances, this Saturday, when Michigan clashes with Legends Division foe Nebraska, “The Big House” will host at least 100,000 fans for the 250th consecutive time. This historic milestone will occur 38 years and one day after the NCAA-record streak began on November 8, 1975, when the Wolverines shut out the Purdue Boilermakers, 28-0, in front of 102,415 at Michigan Stadium.

There have been reports the past few days that Michigan fans have been trying to sell or give away their tickets for this weekend’s game after U-M suffered a loss to Michigan State that essentially eliminated U-M’s odds to win the Big Ten. Those fans should reconsider. Now is the time to become a representative of what this historic streak symbolizes: fans’ efforts to watch Michigan football whether there was sun, wind, rain, sleet, or snow at Michigan Stadium, and regardless of the quality of the squad playing before them, for the past 38 years.

Three Notes You Should Know Before Michigan-Nebraska
  1. Michigan’s minus-48 rushing yards against Michigan State last Saturday was the worst rushing total by a Wolverines team in the history of the program. The previous worst was minus-46 rushing yards against Minnesota 51 years earlier in 1962. Here is the distribution of U-M’s rushing total against the Spartans: 17 yards on called runs, six yards on scrambles, minus-two yards on kneel downs, minus-20 yards on a botched shotgun snap, and minus-49 yards on the seven sacks taken by quarterback Devin Gardner.
  1. Last Saturday’s 29-6 loss to Michigan State was the first time Michigan has scored less than 21 points in Devin Gardner’s 13 starts at quarterback. It was also the first time Michigan did not score a touchdown since not doing so in three games last season (Notre Dame, Michigan State, and Nebraska).
  1. Michigan is 19-0 at Michigan Stadium since U-M hired head coach Brady Hoke. The 19-game winning streak is the fourth longest in school history and the second longest since 1907. This will be U-M’s 11th conference home game under Hoke. The Wolverines have scored at least 36 points in nine of the previous 10, averaging 42.1 points in those games.

You can follow Drew on Twitter: @DrewCHallett

Get more out of your Michigan football weekend

Monday, August 12th, 2013

Two weeks from now you will be gearing up for the first of seven home games that Michigan will play this season. You have your tickets in hand, transportation arranged, and tailgate spot planned. But are you still looking for a place to stay? You could pay an arm and a leg for one of the many underwhelming Ann Arbor-area hotels – if you can even get a room at this point – or book a hotel 30 minutes to an hour’s drive away. But why do that when you can stay a stone’s throw from the Big House and do it comfortably?

One of our partners this season is Ann Arbor Football Rentals, a site that allows home owners to rent out their homes for gameday weekends and those in search of a place to stay to rent them.

One of the homes available to rent for the CMU game

At this time, there are 13 homes available to rent for the Central Michigan game, some as close as two blocks from the stadium. There are homes available for every other home game weekend, the Winter Classic, and 2014 commencement as well.

These are perfect for groups or family get-togethers, giving you the opportunity to feel at home for the weekend, rather than deal with a run of the mill hotel with an uncomfortable bed where everyone in your group is staying in a separate room.

On the other side of the coin, if you live in Ann Arbor and want to rent out your home for a game weekend, look no further than Ann Arbor Football Rentals as a chance to help pay the mortgage or cover the cost of your own weekend getaway.

Whether you’re coming to town for a game or looking to rent out your house, AAFR is easy to use and well worth it. You can sort by game, house, price, distance to the stadium, or number of people it can hold. Each listing has plenty of photos, a detailed description, list of amenities and a map of its location.

If you do rent for a weekend or list your house for rent, make sure to mention Maize and Go Blue! Have you rented from Ann Arbor Football Rentals before? Tell us your experience in the comments below.