The 2011-12 school year marked the fifth straight that attendance at Michigan High School Athletic Association postseason tournaments totaled more than 1.47 million fans – with records set for total attendance at tournaments for six sports.
Total attendance for 2011-12 was 1,479,421 fans, with 1,050,405 at boys tournaments and 429,016 spectators at girls tournaments. Attendance is kept for all sports except golf, skiing and tennis, for which admission typically is not charged.
The previous year, total attendance was 1,522,468 – a five-year high – with 1,090,040 fans at boys tournament events and 432,368 at girls events. The 2011-12 overall attendance figure was the lowest since 2006-07 and represents a 2.8 percent drop from 2010-11, with boys attendance down 3.6 percent but girls attendance down slightly less than one percent.
Twelve sports saw increased tournament attendance last school year from 2010-11: boys soccer (33,399), cross country (19,279) team wrestling (30,415), baseball (47,692), boys lacrosse (7,899), volleyball (99,295), competitive cheer (23,511), girls lacrosse (5,526), girls soccer (26,928) and softball (41,434). Two tournaments at which boys and girls compete simultaneously, bowling (12,346) and track and field (36,904), also saw increases during 2011-12.
Three girls sports set attendance records. Cheer and girls lacrosse each set all-time highs for the eighth consecutive year, with lacrosse’s annual increases dating back to its first year as an MHSAA-sponsored sport in 2005. Volleyball set a high for the fourth straight year despite a slight decrease in District attendance – totals at Regionals, Quarterfinals, Semifinals and the Finals all increased from 2010-11, the Finals total by 27 percent.
The combined bowling tournament also set a record, besting its figure of 12,099 fans in 2009-10, and the track and field tournament set a record for a second straight year, besting the 2010-11 attendance of 36,873. The combined boys and girls cross country tournament bested its 2010-11 record total by nearly 1,000 fans.
Eight more Finals joined volleyball with increases in attendance from 2010-11. Among the most notable, Girls Basketball Finals weekend saw an increase of 9.7 percent, while attendance at Team Wrestling Finals weekend and the Track and Field Finals both were up eight percent from the year before. Finals for cheer, girls soccer, bowling, boys soccer and individual wrestling also saw small increases in 2011-12.
Football again ranked as the most-attended MHSAA tournament, with 427,520 fans. Since playoff expansion occurred in 1999, the football playoffs have been the single most attended tournament series on 10 occasions. Boys basketball was second in 2011-12 attendance with 322,988 fans, and girls basketball was third with 158,481. All three of those sports saw attendance drops from the previous year – football by 4.7 percent, boys basketball by 3.6 percent and girls basketball by five percent. Boys basketball hit a record low for the second straight year. The 2011-12 football attendance, however, was still more than 24,000 fans better than in 2009-10, and girls basketball attendance was roughly 5,000 fans more than in 2008-09.
To provide for the convenience and safety of spectators attending the Michigan High School Athletic Association 11-Player Football Finals on Nov. 25 and 26 at Ford Field in Detroit, attendees are being advised of a variety of items related to transportation and security – including policies regarding parking, seating and types of bags allowed into the stadium.
Parking will be available in Ford Field facilities and lots to the east and north of the stadium and costs $8. A map identifying the designated Ford Field lots (4, 5 and 6) and parking deck can be found on the Football page under “Tracking the Tournament.” (There also are a number of privately-operated parking facilities close to Ford Field, but their pricing may differ.)
Fans also are advised that the consumption of alcohol is prohibited in Ford Field parking facilities and lots, and smoking – including use of electronic cigarettes and vaporizers – is prohibited inside the stadium. Tailgating, including the setting up and use of grilling equipment, also is not allowed.
Tickets are priced at $20 and allow a fan to see all four games in a single day. Tickets are available for purchase at the door (cash or credit accepted), from participating schools, or online from Ford Field via Ticketmaster – links to order tickets both days also are on the MHSAA Website football page. Spectators leaving the stadium will be required to purchase another ticket for re-entry. Infants able to be held in arms will be admitted without charge for this event. There will not be a public Will Call window.
Spectators may enter Ford Field at Gates A & B. Upon arrival in the building, fans will find their designated seating areas on the South side of the field if their team is the designated home team for their contest and on the North side for the designated visiting team. Home teams this weekend are Belleville, Warren De La Salle Collegiate, Mason, Harper Woods, Corunna, Almont, Jackson Lumen Christi and Ottawa Lake Whiteford. Brightly-lit video boards above the seating areas will display the names of the participating teams each day, and fans should sit on the side of the stadium where they see their school’s name. For general fans, the entire lower bowl of Ford Field will be open for the event.
Security measures also will be in place to help assure spectator safety. Fans will be subject to metal detector screening, and Ford Field personnel reserve the right to request patrons open their coats, bags and other item-carrying vessels for visual inspection and deny entrance to individuals who do not cooperate. Spectators should remove cell phones, cameras, keys and other large metal objects before passing through the metal detectors.
Items which fans will be prohibited from bringing into the building include, but are not limited to, the following:
* Purses larger than a clutch bag, coolers, briefcases, backpacks, book bags, diaper bags, fanny packs, cinch bags, grocery & paper bags; duffle bags, computer bags or luggage of any kind.
* Aerosol cans (hairspray, mace, pepper spray, etc.)
* Animals (except service animals to aid guests with disabilities)
* Balloons (air or helium)
* Balls (beach balls, footballs, etc.)
* Banners or large flags
* Cameras with lenses longer than five inches or any detachable lens. Selfie Sticks also are prohibited.
* Chairs including folding chairs or stools
* Decals, stickers, confetti or glitter
* Drones and/or remote-controlled aircraft
* Electronic equipment including laptop computers, video recorders (hand-held video cameras are allowed), tripods and wearable video cameras including Go Pros.
* Food, beverages – including water – or liquids (cans, bottles, boxes, flasks, etc.)
* Illegal substances
* Knives, pocketknives, box cutters, scissors, etc.
* Laser pointers
* Marijuana including medically prescribed electronic accessories or paraphernalia associated with marijuana or illegal narcotics use.
* Markers (permanent) and/or paint
* Noisemaking devices (bells, horns, kazoos, whistles, etc.)
* Objects that can be used as missiles or projectiles (sticks, poles, bats, clubs, Frisbees, etc.)
* Strollers and infant car seats or carriers
* Umbrellas (large size)
* Wrapped gifts
The following items may be permitted after inspection:
* Bags that are clear plastic, vinyl or PVC and do not exceed 12 inches by 6 inches by 12 inches, or a one-gallon clear plastic freezer bag (Ziploc or similar). An exception will be made for medically necessary items after proper inspection at the Gate.
* Infant items in a clear bag (bottles and formula) only if accompanied by a child
* Binoculars and binoculars cases not exceeding 4½ inches by 6½ inches may be brought in via one of the clear plastic bag options.
* Cameras (lenses may not measure longer than five inches or be detachable, and no tripods or extension cords)
* Small radios (no larger than the size of a football and used with an earpiece)
* Small, compact umbrellas (must be placed securely under seat)
* Posters and signs without poles or sticks, or larger than what one person can hold.
* Tablets (iPads, Kindles, etc.)
* Seat cushions not exceeding 15 inches by 15 inches. Seat cushions also must not contain arm rests, zippers, pockets, flaps or metal backs.
The complete list of prohibited items can be found on the Detroit Lions website. Prohibited items that are discovered during security inspections at stadium entrances must be returned to the owner's vehicle or discarded. Items will not be held for later pickup.
Fans are reminded that all image taking (still and video) may be only for personal, non-commercial use.
The MHSAA is a private, not-for-profit corporation of voluntary membership by more than 1,500 public and private senior high schools and junior high/middle schools which exists to develop common rules for athletic eligibility and competition. No government funds or tax dollars support the MHSAA, which was the first such association nationally to not accept membership dues or tournament entry fees from schools. Member schools which enforce these rules are permitted to participate in MHSAA tournaments, which attract more than 1.4 million spectators each year.