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The Downington Destroyer

Please Take The Michigan State Wrestling Tournament out of Ford Field

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It is evident that wrestling people are not in charge.  I wonder who this benefits by  putting a high school state wrestling tournament in a professional football stadium?  It was bad enough at the Palace but now the individual tournament is in a venue that could house two Palaces. For many reasons, this is not a good idea. If you want to see a great event, go to the Kellog Arena in Battle Creek MI and watch the Michigan Team State Meet in a place that holds only 5,500 people.  It is electric and exciting and loud.  The intensity is unparalleled.  Then the individual state tournament is moved to a cavernous and fan-unfriendly venue. I am used to seeing state finals at the old Hearnes Center in Columbia MO or Rec Hall on the campus of Penn State University.  Visibility at Ford Field (you better bring your binoculars) is minimal at best.  The fan is so far removed from the action.  You can barely see the wrestling on the mat adjacent to where you are seated.  Forget about the other 20 plus mats that are spread out all over the football field.  There are dividers, score boards, cheerleaders, banners, referees and tables everywhere impeding visibility. The event resembles a convention or a college fair more than a wrestling tournament.  There are venues at Eastern Michigan, the University of Michigan, Michigan State, Central Michigan or even Western Michigan Universities that are more fan friendly and conducive to wrestling.  Bigger is not necessarily better. 

Edited by The Downington Destroyer

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In addition, this is the first year that the athletes were NOT allowed to bring in outside food/drink. When they showed up for weigh-in, coming through the gates, workers at Ford Field were throwing out sports drinks, water, and post-weigh-in meals the athletes brought. This is inconceivable--we preach staying healthy, eating right, staying hydrated during competition and want the athletes at their peak---and the athletes were faced with two choices-----leave the facility, run out in the cold to the parking lot and grab a bite to eat between matches OR eat the "healthy" options at the Concession Stand (popcorn, hotdogs and pizza mostly).  

Not certain who at the MHSAA dropped the ball here. I think someone forgot to inform the staff at the gates that these kids  were allowed to bring in items. I get it about the general public, but not when it comes to the athletes. 

As for the venue--you are spot-on.  It's just too damn big. In order to accomplish this is 2 days, they put 20 mats on the floor (five for each division). If you want to watch kids from all divisions, you either need to move between matches or sit way at the top and watch with binoc's.  If you happen to be within the first 20-30 row, as soon as someone stands up, you are blocked out of at least 4 mats (incline in stands in minimal).  

Now--no way it could be held at Wing Stadium or Kellogg--not enough space for mats and not enough seating for people. Great for Team tourny, won't work for individuals.  I suggested long ago they go to MSU, and use the Breslin and Munn Arena the first day (two divisions each location....they are only about 300' apart) and then starting in Semis, pull it into one location.  This could also be done at Van Andel and Devos Center, but they are too far apart.  Problem is, MSU has no desire to lose their facility for another weekend. It is already used for back-to-back weekends for basketball---but that could easily move to UM or Central...both have great facilities for BB. 

For those wondering, here is a photo of the setup
2020
Image result for mhsaa wrestling finals 2020 ford field

2019
Image result for mhsaa wrestling finals 2020 ford field

Edited by Holtfan

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Forgot to add---the reason I heard it wasn't at Little Caesars arena is that the catering cost just for the workers was quoted north of $25K....for two days! Yes, there are a lot of workers (20 mats staffed with four--clock, assistant clock, tapper, camera operator), Officials, security, cleaning crew (had to leaf-blow the rubber pebbles from the field off the mats) and those behind the scenes doing whatever they do.....it's a lot of people.  I think I heard Ford Field came in around $12K for two days....just for food. 

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Do you think a basketball only arena will be big enough?  A hockey rink-sized arena is needed to handle the 12 mat configuration.  Can the university BBall arenas handle the 12 mats?  Crisler? Breslin?

If it has to be at Ford Field (which I hate) then they could at least push the mats as close to the stands as possible and run the big black curtains along the girders to make the space feel more appropriately sized.  Block the upper decks the same way and then it will begin to feel right sized rather than cavernous.

Allowing re-entry this year was a definite improvement for Ford/MHSAA.  The no food thing is unforgiveable.  The wrestlers are THE THING.  Often bureaucrats think their "rules" are more important than the actual THING and ruin it.

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11 hours ago, Lipdrag said:

Block the upper decks the same way and then it will begin to feel right sized rather than cavernous.

Actually I wish they would open up the upper decks, as then I wouldn't have to worry about someone 10 rows in front of my standing up and blocking my view---yes, it is that bad. I bring binocs---did so at the Palace also--and the upper level would allow me to see all 20 mats without obstructions. 

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I'm tired of people complaining about Ford Field. Eastern Michigan could host, but there is no chance that we are going to host a tournament at EMU (will never happen unless they bring back wrestling).  MSU and U of M doesn't want it, they both host basketball games this time of the year. Little Caesars and Van Andel also are charging a lot more than Ford Field (I think double). If you're complaining that you can't see all the divisions,  the only other solutions is to split up the tournament, which means you're not going to be able to watch all divisions. For the kids that are wrestling Ford Field isn't bad compared to The Palace. Kids have room to warm up and relax, the 2 day event is great. Their are pluses and minuses to any faculties  So you might as well embrace it!   

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On 3/9/2020 at 4:35 PM, Holtfan said:

Forgot to add---the reason I heard it wasn't at Little Caesars arena is that the catering cost just for the workers was quoted north of $25K....for two days! Yes, there are a lot of workers (20 mats staffed with four--clock, assistant clock, tapper, camera operator), Officials, security, cleaning crew (had to leaf-blow the rubber pebbles from the field off the mats) and those behind the scenes doing whatever they do.....it's a lot of people.  I think I heard Ford Field came in around $12K for two days....just for food. 

Just so you know, heard directly from a source that would absolutely know,  LCA, for those 2 days, was over $500,000.00 more.........When I first heard that, I actually asked again to make sure I didn't mishear, but yep, it over $500,000.00 more!

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34 minutes ago, MSU158 said:

Just so you know, heard directly from a source that would absolutely know,  LCA, for those 2 days, was over $500,000.00 more.........When I first heard that, I actually asked again to make sure I didn't mishear, but yep, it over $500,000.00 more!

I just heard the quote on the catering, not the entire costs.  

And the difference in cost, my friend, is ridiculous. That means the place rents out for $250K/day more than Ford Field.......sorry, again, ridiculous! 

Edited by Holtfan

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8 hours ago, Holtfan said:

I just heard the quote on the catering, not the entire costs.  

And the difference in cost, my friend, is ridiculous. That means the place rents out for $250K/day more than Ford Field.......sorry, again, ridiculous! 

Yep, like I said, I asked a second time because I was sure I heard it wrong.  I didn’t. 

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14 hours ago, MSU158 said:

Yep, like I said, I asked a second time because I was sure I heard it wrong.  I didn’t. 

My bet is you can rent it really cheap right now. ;) 

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19 hours ago, Michigan wrestling said:

Don't forget the Iltches are truly awful people. The Palace I believe would give us a deal because it was a high school event. The Iltches have taken advantage of every tax breaks, even money that was directed towards Detroit schools. 

You are right about the Ilitch family and business - Real Sports on HBO did an excellent piece last year about the Little Caesars and District Detroit development. What happened was straight up fraud.

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As a spectator, I really liked the setup at Auburn Hills.  Now, I get that there isn't really anything close for traveling folks, but I live within 20 minutes so I never had to worry about that part.  Even when NCAA's came, I never had a problem parking or getting in and out of there with any difficulty.

As far as Downtown goes (LCA or Ford Field) I am not really a Downtown person to begin with, so I don't really love it.  However, I think it could be  well received come NCAA time if this coronavirus doesn't kill the local economy before then! 

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18 hours ago, MSU158 said:

As a spectator, I really liked the setup at Auburn Hills.  Now, I get that there isn't really anything close for traveling folks, but I live within 20 minutes so I never had to worry about that part.  Even when NCAA's came, I never had a problem parking or getting in and out of there with any difficulty.

As far as Downtown goes (LCA or Ford Field) I am not really a Downtown person to begin with, so I don't really love it.  However, I think it could be  well received come NCAA time if this coronavirus doesn't kill the local economy before then! 

Yes, The Palace was easy in and fairly easy out, but it's gone never coming back. Downtown isn't bad if you know where to go and can walk a little bit. You can park for free at either casino or pay $5.00-10.00 somewhat closer. 

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