Expansion to college football playoff could help Memphis

Updated: Jun. 11, 2021 at 5:46 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - In the past 7 seasons, the University of Memphis football team has reached new heights and outrun the competition.

“The tigers are the talk and they’re in the National conversations,” President and CEO Memphis Tourism Kevin Kane.

That success culminated into major exposure for the city in 2019 with an appearance on ESPN’s College Gameday, an AAC Championship and a spot in the Cotton Bowl.

“The Gameday exposure for the city, because you’re on national tv for literally a few hours, Beale Street packed out, Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler. I mean it was everything about Memphis that you would want to see on National tv. That was priceless for our city,” says Kane.

The NCAA’s college football playoff management committee recently announcing they are considering expanding the playoff field to as many as 12 teams.

The larger the playoff expansion, the more likely a team like the Tigers in the American Athletic Conference could someday play on college football’s biggest stage, competing for a national championship.

In 2019, the Tigers finished the season ranked 15th in the country.

“That was great for our city. All that exposure is positive, and you know, Memphis Memphis Memphis, you mention that enough times nationally and that turns into dollars dollars dollars for Memphis,” says Kane.

Expansion for the college football playoffs is far from guaranteed, and as for the well-regarded AutoZone Liberty Bowl held each year here in Memphis, Executive Director Steve Ehrhart says the expansion would not impact them much.

“The AutoZone Liberty Bowl, we’ve been around for 64 years and we’re the 7th oldest bowl game in America. We’ve been through the BCS, through the alliance, through the playoff, and we’re going to be there no matter what this committee comes up with,” says Executive Director of the AutoZone Liberty Bowl Steve Ehrhart.

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