U2 Foots Bill for Spartan Stadium Field Replacement

Paul Steinbach Headshot

U2 gave 65,000 fans a spectacle Sunday in East Lansing, Mich. Now, the legendary band will give Michigan State University a new football field.

Promoters of the Irish-born rockers, whose Spartan Stadium visit was part of a tour expected to gross $700 million, agreed to reimburse MSU the roughly $253,000 necessary to resod the surface once U2's 400-ton stage was dismantled and a patchwork of aluminum panels were pulled off the existing grass. The field's top three inches will be removed beginning Tuesday and the remaining surface regraded in time for the July 11 arrival of fresh sod from Colorado. According to The State News, a Colorado sod farm was chosen over local growers because its soil profile closely matched that inside the stadium, allowing the best chance the sod will thrive during the weeks leading up to the start of football practice in August. The Spartans' first home game is Sept. 2 against Youngstown State.

The university had been timing replacement of its field (now nine years old) with an appearance by U2 all along. However, an original June 30, 2010, concert date was scrapped while frontman Bono recovered from back surgery. During Sunday's show, Bono thanked Michigan State for its hospitality, which included removing four panels of the wall that surrounds the field to make room for the band's mammoth stage.

Unlike an MSU game day, when alcohol consumption is permitted in tailgating areas, no alcohol was allowed during the concert. Only nine arrests were made, compared to 103 arrests made during the Spartans' game last season against Notre Dame. Moreover, stadium cleanup was a relative snap. "It took about half as much time to clean up as a normal football game," Karen Zelt, communications manager for MSU's Physical Plant, told the Lansing State Journal. "The crowd was prepared to have a good time but they were a very respectful audience."

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