Posted November 7, 2013
EAST LANSING — Upcoming renovations to Spartan Stadium will cut capacity to about 70,000 -- but the long-term future of the stadium could bring it back up to 90,000, Michigan State deputy athletic director Greg Ianni said today on "The Drive with Jack Ebling" on 730-AM in Lansing. There is a plan in place, Ianni said, to put more premium seating on the east side of the stadium to "mirror" the club seats and suites currently on the west side. The plan -- which will only be implemented if the demand is there -- also would include another deck of seats in the south end zone. The stadium currently seats 75,005. "What would it take? It would take a situation where you can't get a ticket for a game over a period of time," Ianni said of the conditions necessary to implement the plan. It is part of a "master plan" that was actually put together in 2000, Ianni said, as MSU prepared to add the premium seating to the west side in 2005. For now, the emphasis is on a $24.5 million renovation to the north end of the stadium -- including new locker rooms, a recruiting room and media center -- that is slightly ahead of schedule, Ianni said. It should be completed in July. After that, MSU's next stadium project will widening aisles and other things to make it more comfortable for fans. That will reduce capacity by about 5,000. "I'm of the opinion now that it's more important to have most the comfortable stadium you can have," Ianni said. "A place people really want to come and enjoy themselves. ... I'd rather say we have the best stadium in the Big Ten than we have the biggest. ... And we're not close to that and we need to get there." Any entertaining of the expansion plan would take long-term, high-level success and certainty that the demand would pay for the debt involved in building, Ianni said. Contact Joe Rexrode: firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @joerexrode. Check out his MSU blog at freep.com/heyjoe. Beat writer Joe Rexrode will answer your questions about MSU in a live chat at 10 a.m. Thursday at freep.com/sports. Submit early questions here..