The Spartans will play at Ford Field for the first time since 2010, giving them six true home games this fall. The 7:30 p.m. ET kickoff on Nov. 24 is part of the Big Ten's new prime-time package with NBC, one of the league's two new media partners for a seven-year agreement that begins this season.
Athletic director Alan Haller said in a statement that the game is a "unique opportunity" to play football in a city and a region that is home to nearly half of Michigan State's student body and 100,000 alumni. The Michigan State-Penn State game will be part of a four-day football stretch spanning Thanksgiving weekend, where Ford Field will host the Detroit Lions-Green Bay Packers game and the Michigan high school state championships.
"We anticipate that the experience will be so much more than a football game for our Spartan faithful," Haller said in a statement. "The decision to move a home game out of Spartan Stadium was given careful consideration, as we understand the impact it will have on some fans. As a community partner, we recognize home football brings benefits to the entire Mid-Michigan area. The fact that this game falls on a holiday weekend Friday increased our willingness make the move. I believe our season ticket holders still have a strong collection of home games highlighted by Michigan and a premier non-conference game against Washington, with a total of six home games just as we had in 2021."
The Big Ten approached Michigan State about moving the game, originally set for Nov. 25 at Spartan Stadium, to the NBC prime-time spot on Black Friday, and to Ford Field. Michigan State then spoke with Ford Field and the Michigan High School Athletic Association, which shifted its championship games from Friday and Saturday to Saturday and Sunday.
"The Big Ten Conference is thrilled that Michigan State will be hosting Penn State at Ford Field in prime time on NBC," Big Ten commissioner Tony Petitti said in a prepared statement. "We are incredibly grateful for the collaboration between our member institutions, broadcast partners, Ford Field and the Detroit Lions to provide this unique opportunity and incredible exposure for our student-athletes on Black Friday."
Michigan State will refund tickets and parking to season-ticket holders for the original Penn State game, and sell the Ford Field game as a standalone contest.
The Spartans were the road team in a 2010 game at Ford Field against Florida Atlantic, which moved the game because construction on its stadium was not completed in time. Before 2010, Michigan State last played in Detroit in 1944 against Wayne State.