The Detroit Lions have sold out 15 of their last 16 regular season games at Ford Field, including all eight last season. With the Cleveland Browns coming to town tonight to kick off the 2012 preseason schedule for both sides, Ford Field is once again expected to be packed to capacity.
While Ford Field has obviously become a hot spot, have you ever wondered what the stadium looks like empty? Quicken Loans interns were given the opportunity to experience just that. Earlier this week, we were invited to take a private tour of Ford Field.
I started going to football games when I was 10. I’ve grown accustomed to walking into a stadium – whether it be Ford Field or Michigan Stadium – full of thousands of other fans. It was definitely a change to walk into Ford Field and not see any players on the field or hear fans cheering.
On the near hour-long tour, we were taken all over the stadium. While I’ve been seated in suites at Comerica Park and the Palace, I’ve never experienced a Ford Field suite until our private tour. As I took in my surroundings, it hit me that I wasn’t there to watch a game. After getting over that slight disappointment, we were informed that the cost to rent out one of the suites we looked at ranged between $70,000-$250,000, which includes two preseason games and the eight regular season games. Alright, I guess it’ll be a little while before I get to do that.
Next we were taken to press row. As someone that’s always been interested in sports writing, the idea of sitting there and covering a football game made me jealous of the people that get to do that every Sunday during the NFL season.
Other parts of the tour included the visitor and home locker rooms, as well as the field. As a kid, I always dreamed about being a professional football player. Up to date, my life has worked out a little differently (although I’m still holding out hope an NFL team will soon be in desperate need of a 24-year-old guy that’s about 5’9 and 160 pounds). With that not likely to happen, at least I can say I’ve stepped foot on a professional football field.
After the tour, we had lunch in the main lobby, where Dan Gilbert, Jay Farner and the Lions’ own Ndamukong Suh spoke. Farner, who was the main speaker, talked about setting goals and always making sure to work toward said goals. Just as my summer internship has, listening to Farner really made me think about what I want to do with the rest of my life. Both Farner and Gilbert answered questions from fellow interns, as well as talked about what the future holds for the city of Detroit. My internship has opened my eyes to everything the city has to offer. Listening to them reaffirmed everything I’ve learned throughout the summer.
Suh, who is someone the Lions are counting on to have a big season, answered a couple questions and spoke about the city and its promising future. He presented two lucky winners an autographed football and a jersey. While I wasn’t one of the winners, it was still a great experience.
After the tour, it was time to head back to Compuware and write a blog post for the day. Not too bad for a day’s worth of work. How does your work day compare?