$9 million upgrade approved for Liberty Bowl - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

$9 million upgrade approved for Liberty Bowl

(WMC-TV) - The Liberty Bowl Stadium is getting a $9 million facelift in time for the upcoming football season.

This fall, the concession stands, football field, and jumbo screen will be among the other upgrades planned.

"It's a win for everybody in these tough time," said Memphis City Councilman and former Tigers football player Reid Hedgepeth.  "It's nice to see our corporate sponsors and the university step up."

Memphis taxpayers will not foot the bill.  FedEx will pay for a new $2.5 million jumbotron.

A turf field, new lighting and painting, improved concession stands and press box, and a new sound system will cost $6.5 million.  Those improvements will be funded through bonds which the University of Memphis will be responsible for.

"This University of Memphis will pay a half million dollars a year on those bonds which will more than cover the $6.5 million," said Hedgepeth.

University leaders said they are paying for the improvements through their new Big East contract.

City leaders also plan to file a proposal to take local sales tax dollars normally going to Nashville and instead earmark them for more improvements at the Liberty Bowl.

"It's called TDZ, tourist development zone," said Hedgepeth.  "We will then capture tourist development dollars, local sales tax dollars."

"So it will be quite a sum of money that we will have to do different types of upgrades and ADA requirements," Hedgepeth added.

It will not be known if the TDZ proposal has been approved for the next several months.  That project is expected to bring the Liberty Bowl in line with federal disability requirements.

The improvements approved this week will be in place at the first football game later this year.

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