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Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium Renovations


21jump

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https://www.commercialappeal.com/story/sports/college/memphis-tigers/football/2021/07/28/major-renovations-liberty-bowl-memorial-stadium-works/5400518001/

I figured this might be worth it's own thread if the Liberty Bowl does indeed see major renovations.

They are adding two party deck type areas for this upcoming season.

The article doesn't mention a timeline or what the major renovations will entail. My immediate thought is a new press box, since that has been floated around before. Hopefully it'll be all brick, to match the campus down the street, or limestone to kind of match colors with the existing structures in Liberty Park. 

Other things I'd like to see are an expanded concourse and renovated concessions and restrooms. I'd also like to see the number of chairback seats at least quadrupled. The capacity still needs to be in the 50,000 seat range so, to counteract the loss of seats due to chairbacks, they could add seats in the North end zone opposite the jumbotron.

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On 7/28/2021 at 2:26 PM, 21jump said:

https://www.commercialappeal.com/story/sports/college/memphis-tigers/football/2021/07/28/major-renovations-liberty-bowl-memorial-stadium-works/5400518001/

I figured this might be worth it's own thread if the Liberty Bowl does indeed see major renovations.

They are adding two party deck type areas for this upcoming season.

The article doesn't mention a timeline or what the major renovations will entail. My immediate thought is a new press box, since that has been floated around before. Hopefully it'll be all brick, to match the campus down the street, or limestone to kind of match colors with the existing structures in Liberty Park. 

Other things I'd like to see are an expanded concourse and renovated concessions and restrooms. I'd also like to see the number of chairback seats at least quadrupled. The capacity still needs to be in the 50,000 seat range so, to counteract the loss of seats due to chairbacks, they could add seats in the North end zone opposite the jumbotron.

Dr. Rudd has raised the specter of building a new stadium, with state help, and that appears to throw water on the Liberty Bowl renovations.  I have my suspicion that he threw this out to get the ball rolling before he steps down. I recently learned that the area where the Liberty Bowl sits qualifies for federal and private foundation funds that could be used for community reinvestment with building a new stadium. I don't see this happening without the city being involved either.  Look what the City and University are doing with the new Leftwich Tennis center. It's intended to draw national tennis  tournaments as well as NCAA tournaments and conference championships to Memphis. Building a new stadium would bring an economic boost to that area and Memphis. Especially if it's domed. 

Edited by JTM1
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And now the City has hired an Architect to study whether to renovate or if a new stadium is needed as the LB has become an albatross around the neck of the U of M's neck to gain admittance in a better conference.

 

The Commercial Appeal parcel would have been an excellent  location for a new stadium in the range of 350 to 500 million at 52 to 55k permanent seating with temp seating in emdzone to boost to 62 to 65 thousand for the Liberty Bowl

 

Look at Birmingham's new 200 million stadium at 45k. 

 

Tigers home games

Southern Heritage Classic

Venue for larger stadium concerts

Host larger acts during Beale Street Music feat was an expansion to two weekends

Possible Soccer use.

 

 

 

Edited by Wayward Memphian
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10 hours ago, Wayward Memphian said:

And now the City has hired an Architect to study whether to renovate or if a new stadium is needed as the LB has become an albatross around the neck of the U of M's neck to gain admittance in a better conference.

 

The Commercial Appeal parcel would have been an excellent  location for a new stadium in the range of 350 to 500 million at 52 to 55k permanent seating with temp seating in emdzone to boost to 62 to 65 thousand for the Liberty Bowl

 

Look at Birmingham's new 200 million stadium at 45k. 

 

Tigers home games

Southern Heritage Classic

Venue for larger stadium concerts

Host larger acts during Beale Street Music feat was an expansion to two weekends

Possible Soccer use.

I wouldn't rule out using the old Commercial Appeal property for a new soccer-specific stadium when that time comes (USL/901 FC haven't asked for one yet, though it'll probably happen in a couple of years), but as far as a new football stadium for the U of M goes, many of the school's prominent boosters would prefer it be located on campus (or at least in close proximity) than planting it near downtown.

Mayor Strickland has already indicated that he'll support whatever the university decides to do in the end. If it's feasible to upgrade the Liberty Bowl based on the city-hired architect's recommendations (new press box, seating, lights, etc.), they'll go with that.

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Yeah, from what I've heard part of the issue the Big 12 has is that the school doesn't have its own stadium and wants to see more of an investment going forward and sees an on campus stadium as the biggest sign of that.  No way they move downtown.  Either that or a big renovation of the Liberty Bowl...wanting to see what the renderings are at least as a start.

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45 minutes ago, James Owen said:

I wouldn't rule out using the old Commercial Appeal property for a new soccer-specific stadium when that time comes (USL/901 FC haven't asked for one yet, though it'll probably happen in a couple of years), but as far as a new football stadium for the U of M goes, many of the school's prominent boosters would prefer it be located on campus (or at least in close proximity) than planting it near downtown.

Mayor Strickland has already indicated that he'll support whatever the university decides to do in the end. If it's feasible to upgrade the Liberty Bowl based on the city-hired architect's recommendations (new press box, seating, lights, etc.), they'll go with that.

The pusback from the surrounding residences is going to make an on campus site near impossible. The yells and screams of slapping it down in Audubon Park will be heard all the way to Philly like bells ringing in 1811/12 from the earthquakes. Putting it at the Park campus will cost them something else like a practice field or more. 

 

The inadequacies of the LB was known after Memphis lost out to Jacksonville and Charlotte for an NFL team because they would not commit to a new stadium.  They have since spent over 25 years about what it would have taken to build a stadium then just to keep the LB barely acceptable and looking at tens of millions more.

 

Maybe the State finally helps since they seem committed to West Tenn now with the Ford development and it may spur more action on I-69  as well. Lee likely has two terms terms to make West Tenn his Nashville.

 

 

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  • 7 months later...

This looks amazing. Way better than I would have expected from a renovation rather than a new stadium.

University of Memphis, City of Memphis Announce Vision For $150-200 Million Renovation to Simmons Bank Liberty Stadium 

https://gotigersgo.com/sports/2022/4/25/memphis-tigers-our-football-future.aspx

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Quote

May 12, 2022 

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – The University of Memphis and the City of Memphis have announced plans to pursue a $150-200 million renovation to Simmons Bank Liberty Stadium to revitalize and modernize the home of Memphis Tiger Football. 

Priority elements of the wide-ranging project include: 

  • A transformation of the stadium’s west side, providing several innovative premium seating options
  • Creating a hospitality experience within the halo space surrounding the stadium
  • Other new seating options, such as family boxes on the north end and party deck patios for students on the south end
  • A potential repurpose and retrofit of the east side suite tower

The goal for completion of the project is prior to the 2025 football season. 

“We started this process with a specific set of transformational goals in mind, and this renovation hits all of them,” Memphis Vice President and Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Laird Veatch said. “It will demonstrate our commitment to sustainable competitive and recruiting success, provide a tremendous, upgraded fan experience and secure positive long-term economic impacts for our University and City, all while taking advantage of the current stadium infrastructure and the investments already underway at Liberty Park. 

“Perhaps most importantly, it will optimize our position in the rapidly evolving landscape of intercollegiate athletics in a more manageable and efficient timeframe. This is the most strategically achievable option for us to pursue and make a game-changing impact at a critical time for our program.” 

“The commitment to greatly enhance the home of Tiger Football is a significant step toward realizing our potential as we position ourselves to succeed at the highest level of collegiate athletics,” University of Memphis President Dr. Bill Hardgrave said. “This investment in athletics mirrors the investments we are making across campus to put us among the top universities in the country, exemplified by our recent recognition as a Carnegie R1 research university.” 

Over the past several months, the University studied options for both a renovation of Simmons Bank Liberty Stadium and construction of a new football stadium with global stadium architecture design firm Populous. After deliberately analyzing both possibilities with University and government leaders, the conclusion was to focus on a transformation of Simmons Bank Liberty Stadium. 

“This transformation will also further our partnership with the City and take advantage of the existing stadium infrastructure that includes great sightlines, on-site parking and an incredible tailgating scene on Tiger Lane,” Veatch explained. “In addition to multiple improvements made to the stadium in recent years, we are also excited to complement the investments already underway in Liberty Park.” 

Currently approximately halfway through construction, the site of the old Mid-South Fairgrounds surrounding Simmons Bank Liberty Stadium is being re-energized into Liberty Park. Essentially creating a stadium district, Liberty Park will consist of a youth sports facility, named the Memphis Sports and Events Center, and also include entertainment venues, dining, retail, office space, two hotels and 150 apartments. 

“Now is a time of historic public and private reinvestment in our city,” City of Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland said. “Whether through private developments or city-wide public projects, billions of dollars are helping to bring new life and new energy to Memphis. This significant investment in the stadium will be a tremendous compliment to the 227,000 square-foot youth sports complex just across the street on Early Maxwell, as well as the overall transformative Liberty Park development.” 

“With our vision now public, our attention will turn to working with the City to establish a funding plan consisting of public and private support, completing the full design process and securing lead gift commitments,” Veatch said. “This will be an investment in the University and City of Memphis for generations to come. To accomplish a project of this magnitude, we will need everyone who cares deeply about the University and City to come together and help us elevate. Together, we will take this project from vision to reality.” 

Additional information will be announced as project milestones are achieved. For more information on the Simmons Bank Liberty Stadium renovation, visit www.GoTigersGo.com/OurFootballFuture. To learn more about Liberty Park, visit www.LibertyParkMemphis.com. 

Video:

 

Edited by VSRJ
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I was on board a new stadium. Now seeing the renderings of this renovation makes it feel new and refreshing. Coming just in time with Liberty Park shaping up. The fairgrounds will definitely transform.

I hope this includes seating as well

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Agreed.   With the cost it would take to buy land for a new stadium (plus lack of land available on/near campus) I figured they'd go this route and it looks a lot better than I was expecting.  Plus I figured with Liberty Park underway and the fact the Liberty Bowl and Southern Heritage Classic also come into play it'd be harder to convince the city and everyone making decisions to fund an on campus stadium for the Tigers.  Looks great.

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20 hours ago, DRG901 said:

Agreed.   With the cost it would take to buy land for a new stadium (plus lack of land available on/near campus) I figured they'd go this route and it looks a lot better than I was expecting.  Plus I figured with Liberty Park underway and the fact the Liberty Bowl and Southern Heritage Classic also come into play it'd be harder to convince the city and everyone making decisions to fund an on campus stadium for the Tigers.  Looks great.

Think Southern Heritage Classic will continue since Jackson St is pulling out?  

Hopefully, this will give the final push for someone to renovate the MSC.  Won't look good to have everything nice, new and shiny in Liberty Park, then have a blighted arena right in the middle of it.  

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25 minutes ago, MDC26 said:

Think Southern Heritage Classic will continue since Jackson St is pulling out?  

Hopefully, this will give the final push for someone to renovate the MSC.  Won't look good to have everything nice, new and shiny in Liberty Park, then have a blighted arena right in the middle of it.  

I heard they are trying to find a replacement but not sure what'll happen.

Yeah, I agree about the Coliseum.   I think something will happen eventually, hope this spurs interest.

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