• The Liberty Bowl's economic impact

    By: Zach Crenshaw

    Updated:

    MEMPHIS, Tenn. - For the first time in more than 50 years, the Auto Zone Liberty Bowl is hosting its hometown team.

    While the team and fans are ecstatic, some local businesses are concerned.

    The most lucrative football weekend in Memphis, usually doesn’t feature the Tigers. 

    But for the last 50 years, that has always factored in two out of town teams, like Georgia and TCU last year.


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    This year, roughly half the fans won’t need airfare or hotel rooms, and chances are Tiger fans are familiar with Beale Street and Graceland. 

    "There could be a little drop off at some of our attractions," said Kevin Kane, CEO of the Memphis Convention & Visitors Bureau. "You think we would be very worried about that. We are not."

    Kane believes not only will Memphis alumni come back in droves, but said Iowa State has already shown it travels well to Memphis like it did back in 2012.

    "They come early, and they stay late. So they make up a lot of slack for not having an SEC team this year," said Kane.

    Thousands of students plan to be at the game.

    "I think it is going to be cool to go to a bowl game right here in the hometown," said UofM senior, Chavez Nelson.

    Kane admits hotel sales will likely be down, but said ticket sales are already looking strong.

    With the season Memphis has already had, the city is used to expectations being shattered.

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