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  • Writer's pictureAaron S. Terry

Simmons Bank Liberty Stadium – Memphis Tigers

Photos by Aaron Terry, Stadium Journey

Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 4.29

Simmons Bank Liberty Stadium 335 S Hollywood St Memphis, TN 38104

Year Opened: 1965

Capacity: 61,008

Roar Of The Tiger

Note: The Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium's name was changed to Simmons Bank Liberty Stadium in Fall 2022.

Opened in 1965, Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium is home to the Memphis Tigers football team, as well as the annual NCAA football Liberty Bowl, and currently has a capacity of 56,862. The facility is a true bowl design, with an oval-shaped grandstand that rises to a peak in the middle of each sideline, and descends to have valleys behind each end zone. The sight lines here are truly outstanding, meaning all seats have a great view of the action, due to the fact that the grandstand is really close to the field, but also because the seats are very steep, so all of the seats are closer to the action than at comparably-sized stadiums.

Food & Beverage 4

Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium has a good variety of food and beverage options available at its concessions stands, including a couple varieties of beer. The stadium is located in Memphis, so the obvious highlight here in terms of concessions is the barbecue from local favorite Hog Wild BBQ. The Hog Wild stand offers barbecue nachos and barbecue sandwiches, as well as cheese nachos and potato salad. Food choices at other stands include sub sandwiches with several different types of meat, regular and foot-long corn dogs, turkey legs, Polish sausage, burgers, pizza, fried bologna sandwiches, deluxe nachos, and barbecue chicken sandwiches. You can also find snack and dessert options such as chips, cookies, boxed candy, and funnel cake. Food items range in cost from $2 for cookies, chips, and boxed candy, $4-$9 for funnel cake and most main dishes, $12 for turkey legs and deluxe nachos, and all the way up to $30 for a whole pizza. Note that each of the concessions stands offers different items, so you may need to walk around a bit if you are looking for a specific thing.

Drink offerings at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium include bottled water, Coke products in bottles, iced coffee, lemonade, sweet tea, and a couple varieties of beer. All drinks are $4, except beer, which is $8, but there is a stand near section 104 that offers $4 beers if you buy before kickoff. You can find the same drink options all over the stadium, and there is even a bar inside called Café at the 50.

Atmosphere 4

Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium is a fun place to watch a game, and offers a couple of cool features that make the experience unique. The absolute best thing about seeing a game here is the live tiger that serves as one of the mascots. During the Tiger Walk, when the suit-and-tie clad players and coaches walk into the stadium before the game, TOM the tiger is with them, but you can also see him right before kickoff, pacing his cage as he is driven around the field. His cage is parked right behind one of the end zones throughout the game, so you can also catch glimpses of him while watching the action.

Besides TOM, the staff does a couple other interesting things to enhance the experience, the first a FedEx plane flying over before the game. You may have seen flyovers at other stadiums, but here at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium, the plane circles the venue a couple of times, so you can actually get a really good view of it (FedEx is one of the Tigers’ sponsors). You also get to see fireworks after every Memphis touchdown (and after a win), and you will probably even hear real locomotives going by during the game, thanks to the actual railroad line right outside the stadium; you can see the tracks from the nosebleed seats.

Besides the live tiger and other great features, Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium also has a cool design, with graceful curves that rise or fall depending on which side you are standing on, plus a huge fountain outside the main entrance. And the stadium looks even better at night, when both the fountain and the pillars surrounding the grandstand are lit up in blue.

Once you get inside the stadium, you will see some really cool end zones, with black and blue tiger-striping serving as the backdrop for the team names painted there. There are also several giant tarps above one of the end zones, with that same tiger-striping plus the school logo, and most of the seats are painted in the team’s colors; the bulk of the seats are aluminum bleachers, but there are bucket-style chair backs in the 15-20 lowest rows along each sideline.

Neighborhood 5

Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium is in a great location if you want to come for the day or weekend. Located about 5 miles east of downtown Memphis, the stadium is an easy drive from lots of popular attractions, such as Beale Street or the National Civil Rights Museum (the Lorraine Motel where Dr. Martin Luther King was killed). If you happen to be an Elvis fan, Sun Studio is also downtown, and Graceland isn’t much further; you can also drive about an hour and a half south to Tupelo to see his birthplace. There are plenty of great restaurants near downtown, especially on Beale Street, including Hard Rock Café and Hooters; many of the restaurants on Beale Street feature live music. However, if you are looking for something closer to the stadium, you might try Central BBQ or Celtic Crossing Irish Pub. Central BBQ offers Memphis-style smoked meats, and is a good option if you are looking for some local flavors, while Celtic Crossing features traditional Irish fare, and is a great spot for drinks and dancing.

Most of the hotels in the Memphis area are near downtown or along the I-40/I-240 beltline; the closest ones to Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium are Best Western and Courtyard, the latter which is near the airport.

Fans 4

Fans at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium are loud and loyal; at a typical game the stadium will be at least two-thirds full, and during special events like white-out games, nearly all fans wear the right gear for the occasion. You will hear lots of cheering during the game, and loud booing at bad calls, and most fans wear team gear. And as at most big-time sporting events, you will even see fans with chests painted in support of their team.

Access 4

Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium is located near the center of the I-40/I-240 beltline, so you have to drive through town a little to get here, since the stadium is not right off the freeway. However, there is plenty of parking on the north and west sides for $15, so you shouldn’t have to walk very far (parking on the east side is harder to come by). There are also gates all the way around the venue, so you can get in on any side; note that will call is at Gate 1. Once you get inside the stadium, moving around is easy, and there are plenty of bathrooms. There are ramps into the stands all around the concourse, and there is also a walkway that fully circles the lower bowl, so you can get to your seat easily no matter which side you enter on.

Return on Investment 5

Tickets to Memphis football games start at $15, which is already on the low end for major college football, but you can also buy them from scalpers outside the stadium for as little as $5, which is a steal for the experience. Concessions are very reasonable since there are several low-cost options, and parking is certainly fair for a venue of this size.

Extras 4

Being able to see a live tiger is definitely a plus, and one of the main reasons you should plan a trip to Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium. Also, seeing a jumbo jet not only fly over, but actually circle the stadium is really cool, and very unique, as is being able to hear real locomotives roll by during the game. You also can’t beat Memphis as a tourist destination.

Final Thoughts

Football teams in the American Athletic Conference often get overlooked, since they aren’t in the more prestigious Group of 5. However, passing on these schools means you will miss out on some really great college football venues like this one. So, if you are planning to be in the Memphis area anytime soon, look into visiting Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium; seeing a game here will definitely be worth your while.

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