Why the Michigan - Alabama match up almost didn't happen

When Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon was first approached with the idea of playing the Crimson Tide down at Cowboy Stadium, he considered it quite a reach from a financial standpoint.

Brandon told the decision makers with the Cowboys stadium organization and ESPN, "This is a terrific idea but you can't afford it...it's never going to work."

On Brandon's mind was the $4.8 million in estimated admissions, and another $2.3 million in personal seat licenses and premium seating revenue that they'd be missing out on from playing a game somewhere other than The Big House.

"They went, 'You're right, we can't afford it,' so early on I didn't think they'd make it work. But ESPN worked with Jerry Jones and the Cowboys organization, and they figured out a strategy where they could make it work."

In the contract that Michigan signed back in October of 2010, the Wolverines agreed to be paid $4.7 million dollars, thus minimizing their overall financial loss.

"ESPN wanted it to be us, Alabama wanted it to be us, two historic programs, that's what we do. I wasn't going to tell them no, if we could work out the details to make it financially viable for us. When we give up a home game, that's a significant impact on our budget and our year, (so) the fact that we were able to work out something and smooth that over made it a very viable opportunity."

"There's probably a slight (financial) loss by virtue of we're playing the game in Dallas and not here, but some of the greater good in terms of excitement and interest, the travel parties, the development opportunities, the merchandising, there's going to be a lot of positives, too."

"I'm glad we're going, we're excited." Brandon added. "This game has gotten more attention than any game I can remember in the preseason, and that's good. That's what we do."




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