Spartans Overview

Fast facts

League: NCAA Football

Head Coach: Harlon Barnett

Team Mascot: Sparty

Year Opened: 1923

Capacity: 75005

City / State: East Lansing / Michigan

Rivalries & Top Games to Attend

Megaphone Trophy Game

Rival Team: Notre Dame Fighting Irish

The Megaphone Trophy is awarded to the winner of the Michigan State - Notre Dame game. The rivalry contains arguably one of the greatest (and most controversial) games ever played in college football. In 1966, the two met each other with the National Championship on the line as both teams had perfect seasons - MSU at 9 and 0 ranked #2 and ND at 8 and 0 ranked #1. During the last series of the game, Notre Dame opted out of going for the end zone, resulting in a 10-10 tie and both schools eventually being named national champions. The rivalry has remained intact ever since.

Michigan State vs Michigan

Rival Team: Michigan Wolverines

The in-state rivalry game between Michigan state and Michigan is one of the best to go to regarding tailgating. Because of the schools’ proximity, tons of students and fans from each school attend the game, making it one of the liveliest (and potentially rowdiest) game of the year. The winner is also awarded the Paul Bunyan-Governor of Michigan Trophy putting extra bragging rights on the line.

Land Grant Trophy

Rival Team: Penn State Nittany Lions

Michigan State and Penn State play each year for the Land Grant Trophy. The rivalry took a brief hiatus from 2011-2013, but was rekindled in the 2014 season and makes for a great game to watch as it is one of the bigger matchups in the Big Ten East.

Spartans Tailgate Guide


The atmosphere at Michigan State on game day is one of the best in the Big Ten. Here you’ll find an exciting, festive, and celebratory atmosphere that is sure to leave you wanting to come back for more. Spartan fans are a lively bunch and their tailgates, and energy levels, on game day speak to that notion.

No matter what kind of tailgate you’re looking for you’ll find it at Michigan State, which offers a wide variety of tailgate options. Michigan State University allows tailgating on campus in all public parking areas, including the consumption of alcohol for those over 21. They also offer a family-friendly, alcohol-free tailgating zone at Munn Field for those with families or who want a calmer tailgating experience. Whether you’re looking to let loose and party hard or if you’re taking your kids to their first Spartans football game there is a place for you to enjoy the pregame festivities at State.

One of the more unique aspects of tailgating at Michigan State is the fact that Spartans fans have their own brand of beer pong known as Spartan Beer Pong. Rather than just throwing the balls through the air and trying to sink them in the cup like regulation beer pong, you have to use actual ping pong rules. The table is set up with the ping pong net on it, and you have to use your hands as paddles to bounce it off the table before sinking it in a cup otherwise, it doesn’t count. The defensive team cannot hit the ball until it passes the cups otherwise a cup is deducted for interference. You’ll love this variation of beer pong, which is sure to get you into the Spartans spirit.

MSU operates on a 7/9/1 rule for tailgating/parking on game days. If the game starts at noon, the tailgating lots open at 7 am; if the game starts at 3:30 or any late afternoon time, the lots open at 9 am; for a night game (7 pm or later), the lots are open at 1 pm. Regardless of what time the game is, there is ample opportunity to tailgate with other Spartan fans.


Gate D Tribute

At Gate D you can find the full roster of all the Spartan players to play on Big Ten winning teams. The tribute offers a great way for fans young and old to pay respect to greats of the past and to reminisce about great moments in Spartan football history.

Spartan Beer Pong

Spartan Beer Pong is a bit different from traditional beer pong, in Spartan Beer Pong the table is set up with the ping pong net on it, and you have to use your hands as paddles to bounce it off the table before sinking it in a cup otherwise it doesn’t count. The defensive team cannot hit the ball until it passes the cups otherwise a cup is deducted for interference. Look for a game of Spartan Beer Pong if you’re looking to have a great time at an MSU football game.

Spartan Statue

The statue located on the corner of Kalamazoo and Chestnut is a part of one of the largest Spartan pre-game traditions. Before every game the football team and band walk past the statue and touch its foot for good luck. Help bring the Spartans good luck by touching the statue’s foot yourself before cheering on the Spartans to victory.

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Band Shows at Adams Field

Approximately two hours before kickoff the band performs a show at Adams Field. Each section of the band arrives separately and practices in different parts of the field while fans gather around to listen and take pictures. After the concert, the band takes a parade block formation to march across the river.

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The Spartan Walk

After the band’s performance in Adams Field, they gather into their parade block formation while the percussion sections start playing “The Series” as they march across the river. Once across, Sparty joins in with the band and leads the fans down Red Cedar Road to the stadium as fans line the street to show their support. The football team joins the walk from the Kellogg Center and make sure to pass the Spartan Statue where each member of the team to rub its feet for good luck and leaves pennies to bring home an MSU victory. To truly get into the game day spirit and show off your Sparty pride make sure to check out the Spartan Walk.

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Where to tailgate

Spartans Stadium Guide

In Game

Spartan Stadium is the home of the Michigan State Spartans football team. It’s the sixth largest stadium in the Big Ten and 23rd largest in the country. The stadium is built to accommodate 75,000 fans but on more than one occasion, has seen upwards of 80,000 fans – a far cry from the 14,000 the stadium held when it opened in the 1923.

You’ll know right where you are the minute the Spartans take the field accompanied by their intro video that features scenes from the film 300. The atmosphere from that point on is one of the best in the Big Ten as Spartan fans love to show off the love and pride they have for MSU. The fans at Michigan State are great and if you want to feel the buzz from the crowd then sitting in the upper deck right above the student section is the place to be. No matter where you sit though you’ll have an excellent view of the action on the field and be able to experience the infectious energy the crowd provides

Traditions are a big part of any Big Ten game day, and Michigan State is no exception. The Spartans pride themselves on tradition and a deep love for college football. With traditions such as Zeke the Wonder Dog and battle cries from the movie 300, it’s hard not to enjoy yourself at an MSU game, regardless of who they’re playing. While MSU hasn’t been able to duplicate their period of domination (seven national championships between 1951 and 1966), the spirit of the Spartans remains fully intact, and their pride is undeniable.  

Things to check out


Spartan Stadium offers a little bit different items in their concessions, as well as the traditional offerings. Near the student section, you’ll find local favorite Sparty’s Pizza for a more traditional food item. One of the more notable, and unique, places inside the stadium is the Turkey Man Stand, offering items such as large smoked turkey drumsticks, turkey ribs, turkey sausage, turkey wings, basically anything and everything you can make out of turkey.


In 2007, clips from the movie 300 were added to the Spartans opening video sequence. Also, if the opponent is in a third down situation, a clip of Spartan King Leonidas is shown shouting “Spartans! What is your profession?” to which the crowd responds with “Ha-Ooh! Ha-Ooh! Ha-Ooh!” while thrusting their fists in the air as if they were holding spears. These video clips get the crowd pumped and ready to cheer on their Spartans, so join in the cheers when you see these clips.

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Zeke the Wonder Dog

At halftime of every Spartans game, Zeke entertains the crowd by showing off his frisbee catching abilities. The tradition dates back to 1977, however following the original Zeke’s retirement the tradition went on hiatus until 2001 when it was resurrected. Don’t leave your seat at halftime or you may risk missing out on this fantastic Michigan State game day tradition.

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Spinning S

One of the signatures of the Michigan State marching band’s in-game performance is the spinning S. While performing the school’s fight song the band forms a block S and rotates 360 degrees. Don’t miss this piece of Michigan State game day tradition if you want to get the full Spartan football experience.

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Fight Songs

  1. Fight Song

    On the banks of the Red Cedar
    There’s a school that’s known to all
    Its specialty is winning
    And those Spartans play good ball
    Spartan Teams are never beaten
    All through the game they’ll fight
    Fight for the only colors
    Green and White
    Go right through for MSU
    Watch the points keep growing
    Spartan Teams are bound to win,
    they’re fighting with a vim
    Rah! Rah! Rah!
    See their team is weakening
    We’re going to win this game!
    Fight! Fight! Rah, Team, Fight!
    Victory for MSU!

  2. MSU Shadow (Alma Mater)

    MSU, we love thy shadows When twilight silence falls, Flushing deep and softly paling O’er ivy covered halls;
    Beneath the pines we’ll gather
    To give our faith so true,
    Sing our love for Alma Mater
    And thy praises MSU.
    When from these scenes we wander
    And twilight shadows fade, Our memory still will linger Where light and shadows played; In the evening oft we’ll gather And pledge our faith anew,
    Sing our love for Alma Mater
    And thy praises MSU.

  3. Thunderstruck

    This AC/DC hit is played as the Spartans storm the field led by Sparty, to the thunderous screams of fans.

    Thunder [x10]
    I was caught
    In the middle of a railroad track (thunder)
    I looked round
    And I knew there was no turning back (thunder)
    My mind raced
    And I thought what could I do (thunder)
    And I knew
    There was no help, no help from you (thunder)
    Sound of the drums
    Beating in my heart
    The thunder of guns
    Tore me apart
    You’ve been

    Rode down the highway
    Broke the limit, we hit the town
    Went through to Texas, yeah Texas, and we had some fun
    We met some girls
    Some dancers who gave a good time
    Broke all the rules
    Played all the fools
    Yeah yeah they, they, they blew our minds
    And I was shaking at the knees
    Could I come again please
    Yeah them ladies were too kind
    You’ve been

    I was shaking at the knees
    Could I come again please

    Thunderstruck, Thunderstruck, Thunderstruck, Thunderstruck
    It’s alright, we’re doin’ fine
    It’s alright, we’re doin’ fine, fine, fine
    Thunderstruck, yeah, yeah, yeah
    Thunderstruck, Thunderstruck
    Thunderstruck, baby, baby
    Thunderstruck, you’ve been Thunderstruck
    Thunderstruck, Thunderstruck
    You’ve been Thunderstruck

Spartans Bars & Restaurants

  1. FieldHouse


    Inspired by the Great American Sports Clubs of the Past, FieldHouse is the perfect place for you and your friends to gather and watch a game.

    213 Ann St, East Lansing, MI 48823, USA

    Bar website

    sportsbar - $$

  2. Troppo

    beer glass

    Inspired by the great American Supper Clubs of the past, Troppo is known for distinctive comfort food served in an exuberant environment.

    111 E Michigan Ave, Lansing, MI 48933, USA

    Bar website

    italian - $$

  3. Dusty’s Cellar

    Souris Saloon Silhouette Lounge

    American bistro with upscale food & wine served in a relaxed setting with exposed wood beams.

    1839 W Grand River Ave, Okemos, MI 48864, USA

    Bar website

    american - $$

  4. Harpers

    Souris Saloon Silhouette Lounge

    Family-owned sports bar & microbrewery with a sizable dance floor also features American fare.

    131 Albert Ave, East Lansing, MI 48823, USA

    Bar website

    sportsbar - $$

  5. Hop Cat

    HopCat bar

    Woodwork-filled brew pub with a massive beer list offers creative pub fare & brunch items.

    300 Grove St, East Lansing, MI 48823, USA

    Bar website

    american - $$

  6. PT O’Malleys

    Phase Dining Entertainment beer

    Loud, basic watering hole attracting a fun-loving college crowd for beer, mixed drinks & dancing.

    210 Abbot Rd, East Lansing, MI 48823, USA

    Bar website

    american - $

  7. Crunchy’s

    Caravan Lounge

    Watering hole in old-school digs famous for its burgers & long-running weekend karaoke nights.

    254 W Grand River Ave, East Lansing, MI 48823, USA

    Bar website

    american - $$

  8. Dublin Square Irish Pub


    Upscale Irish pub with a hand-carved mahogany bar offers a pub-grub menu plus live bands & DJs.

    327 Abbot Rd, East Lansing, MI 48823, USA

    Bar website

    european - $$

  9. Peanut Barrel

    Peanut Barrel

    American bar & grill featuring burgers & sandwiches with an outdoor patio & river views.

    521 East Grand River Avenue E Grand River Ave, East Lansing, MI 48823, United States

    Bar website

    american - $$

  10. Pablo’s Old Town

    Pablos MSU

    Informal Mexican restaurant featuring classic taqueria fare & outdoor seating options.

    311 E Grand River Ave, Lansing, MI 48906, USA


    Bar website

    mexican - $

  11. Fleetwood Diner

    Fleetwood Diner MSU

    Offering great food at all hours of the day.

    2211 S Cedar St, Lansing, MI 48910, USA


    Bar website

    american - $

  12. Soup Spoon Cafe

    Soup Spoon Cafe MSU

    Colorful & cozy cafe offers homemade soup, a diverse menu of homestyle eats & regional beer.

    1419 E Michigan Ave, Lansing, MI 48912, USA


    Bar website

    american - cafe - $$

  13. Aladdin’s Restaurant

    Aladdins Restaurant MSU

    Middle Eastern fare, including vegetarian options, in a folksy space with occasional belly dancing.

    300 N Clippert St, Lansing, MI 48912, USA


    Bar website

    asian - $$

  14. MSU Dairy Store

    MSU Dairy Store

    Cozy, upbeat outpost with homemade cheeses & ice cream in creative flavors, plus soups & sandwiches.

    474 S Shaw Ln, East Lansing, MI 48824, USA


    Bar website

    cafe - $

  15. Golden Harvest

    Golden Harvest MSU

    Wall-to-wall kitsch & generous plates of morning favorites greet guests at this buzzy brunch stop.

    1625 Turner St, Lansing, MI 48906, USA


    Bar website

    american - $$

  16. Steakhouse Philly

    Steakhouse Philly MSU fries

    Relaxed bar & eatery with sports on TV serving classic & creative cheesesteaks, plus Greek fare.

    3020 Kalamazoo St, Lansing, MI 48912, USA


    Bar website

    sportsbar - $$

  17. Harrison Roadhouse

    Harrison Road House MSU

    Casual tavern in a renovated gas station with 20+ draft beers, cocktails & a broad pub-grub menu.

    720 E Michigan Ave, East Lansing, MI 48823, USA


    Bar website

    american - $$