Hometown crowd could mean fewer tourists dollars for Liberty Bowl

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Tigers fans are excited by the news that the hometown team will be playing the Liberty Bowl, but this year's bowl game probably won't bring the economic boost Memphis is used too.

The selection of University of Memphis means only one out-of-town team is coming in, instead of two — which means fewer tourism dollars for shops and restaurants in the city.

The Liberty Bowl is a big deal for the Memphis Music shop on Beale Street. It gives them 40 percent more business than a normal weekend.

"That weekend we do May numbers, where we do the numbers that we do in Memphis in May, which is pretty significant," said Malcolm Burt, general manager of Beale Street Merchandising.

Like a lot of businesses, winter is slow for them and the game is a high-point for sales revenue.

"It helps keep us in the black," said Burt.

"It does concern me that our sales or revenues would be down, but we're still excited just to have the Memphis Tigers here."

The owner of Tater Red's on Beale feels the same way.

"We just hope the ones that come from the other team just want to have a big old time, you know? I'm sure there'll be some Memphis people down here, especially if they win it," said Leo Allred.

Luckily, the other team is Iowa State, which brought the game's largest crowd ever back in 2012, according to the Convention and Visitors Bureau.

"It's always a great weekend," said Allred. "There's a lot of people in town looking to have a good time. We're hosting our competitors. So, we got to show them a good dose of southern hospitality."