MEMPHIS, Tenn. (localmemphis.com) – The 59th AutoZone Liberty Bowl is on the verge of selling out.
The matchup, which will be shown on Local 24, features the hometown Memphis Tigers for the first time in the event’s history.
Organizers said both Memphis and Iowa State sold out their ticket allotments and believe the game could officially sell out by Wednesday or Thursday.
As workers get the stadium ready for game day, anticipation is high for what could be a banner week for local businesses.
“When you walk inside and see the stadium sign on the wall and the field being painted, yeah you know it’s real, it’s here, it’s game week,” AutoZone Liberty Bowl Executive Director Harold Graeter said.
With crews finalizing the new paint job in the end zones and at midfield Tuesday morning, the playing field is taking shape for Saturday’s highly anticipated AutoZone Liberty Bowl.
“A lot of buzz around the city, incredible excitement around the Tiger football team,” Graeter said.
The Tigers will be on the stadium’s visitors side Saturday when the team takes on the Big 12’s Iowa State Cyclones.
Even though the bowl game is just two miles from U of M’s campus, the Tigers still get the VIP treatment, starting Tuesday afternoon when the players arrived and settled in at their team hotel.
“They are going to get the full blown AutoZone Liberty bowl experience as we gear up for Saturday’s game,” Graeter said.
Tourism leaders estimate the game pumps in between $25 and $30 million in economic impact to the region.
Even without two true road teams and traveling fanbases, those with the AutoZone Liberty Bowl believe what you may lose in hotel rooms, you gain in other ways.
“Obviously having the hometown team brings the interest level to a whole different stratosphere then you may have with two visiting teams but we know on the other side of the ledger with Iowa State, they’ve sold over 15,000 plus tickets, their fans are coming in huge numbers, as are the Tiger fans,” Graeter said.
The Memphis Tigers could also make history in more ways than one.
A win Saturday would give the team 11 wins and set a new season high for victories in the program’s more than a century history.
Kickoff is 11:30 a.m. Saturday.