New Michigan State athletic director Bill Beekman made it clear that he wants to see a packed house in East Lansing every Saturday during the college football season, harping on the importance of attendance.

Beekman, who has been in the role permanently or two weeks, talked with’s Kyle Austin recently and discussed the importance of improving attendance at Spartan Stadium this fall.

“We have to fill our stadium and encourage people to attend our games,” Beekman told He says that improving attendance during football season is one of his top priorities.

Beekman also noted that other B1G programs — Ohio State, Michigan, and Penn State, have a capacity that exceeds Spartans Stadium by 30,000 seats, putting Michigan State “behind the curve.”

From the interview:

That’s 30,000 tickets times seven home games times $75, $80, $85 a ticket. That puts us at a revenue deficit year in and year out of $20 to $40 million depending on ticket sales. We have to fill our stadium and encourage people to attend our games, but even if we have a full house, we start a little bit behind the curve.

In 2017, Michigan State averaged 72,485 fans in seven games in East Lansing. Spartan Stadium seats 75,005. The average from last fall was down approximately 2,000 fans per game from the 2016 average.

After Michigan State’s 10-3 finish last season, the Spartans are expected to be back in the hunt for the B1G title, which should draw more fans to this fall.

The Spartans will have seven home games in 2018, including games against Ohio State and Michigan, which should draw sellout crowds.

Here’s the full home schedule for Michigan State:

  • Aug. 31: Utah State
  • Sept. 29: Central Michigan
  • Oct. 6: Northwestern
  • Oct. 20: Michigan
  • Oct. 27: Purdue
  • Nov. 10: Ohio State
  • Nov. 24: Rutgers

After opening the year against Utah State on Aug. 31, the Spartans won’t be back in East Lansing until Sept. 29 against Central Michigan.