MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Get ready Memphis! The wildly popular ESPN show “College GameDay” is coming to town! They will previewing the Memphis verses SMU match-up. But the winner won’t be just on the football field.
According to ESPN, College GameDay averages 2 million viewers. Saturday morning all of those eyes will be on B.B. King and Beale Street where the GamDday stage will be set up.
U of M officials say in about an hour, the university sold about 1,000 tickets during their “College GameDay Flash Sale.” Tickets were sold at a discounted rate of $9.01. The sale will last through Wednesday Oct. 30.
“The atmosphere is unbelievable. You can feel it every time that you come on campus, even when you're off campus people know Memphis is the real deal,” said U of M student Mike Jackson.
Ticket sales aren’t the only way the university and the city of Memphis is capitalizing on all this attention.
“I think it’s fabulous. It’s fabulous for Beale Street. I think it’s fabulous for the tigers. I think it’s fabulous for the city,” said Dennis Flannagan with Silky O’Sullivan’s on Beale Street.
Flannagan says he’s hoping thousands of screaming fans will add up to an economic boost for Beale street restaurants.
The ESPN broadcast starts at 6 a.m.
“Well, we’re going to try to get in front of this a little bit,” said Flannagan. “We stay open late at night. We gotta get our employees up and at em, but we’ll open up a little bit early serve some bloody mary’s.”
But University and city leaders say the economic impact will continue long past after the College GameDay crew signs off at 11 a.m.
“The opportunities are on both sides. Both GameDay in the morning and on national television at night so it’s going to be a long day,” said University of Memphis Athletic Director Laird Veatch.
J.J Greer with the Memphis Sports Council says it’s hard to put a dollar figure on the economic impact of this football game, but the number of visitors to the city really boosts that number.
“Hopefully a lot of fans from Dallas coming in supporting SMU will be staying in the hotels, eating in restaurants, drinking in the bars,” said Greer.
According to the Memphis Sports Council there are 20,000 hotel rooms in the city and the Liberty Bowl can seat over 60,000 fans. The more seats and rooms they can fill could add up to big bucks for the city.