Tennessee vs. Virginia Football’s Record-Breaking Attendance Marks A Historic Milestone for Nashville Sports Council

Tennessee vs. Virginia at Nissan Stadium. Photo: Courtesy of the Nashville Sports Council

Saturday’s college football Week 1 opener between the University of Tennessee and University of Virginia brought in a remarkable 69,507 fans filled Nissan Stadium.

This record surpassed the previous college football record of 69,489 attendees set during the 2021 TransPerfect Music City Bowl in which the University of Tennessee also played in.

“This record-breaking attendance is a testament to the incredible passion and dedication of college football fans here in Nashville, across Tennessee and the country,” Scott Ramsey, President and CEO of the Nashville Sports Council and TransPerfect Music City Bowl, says. “The TransPerfect Music City Bowl and the Nashville Sports Council are honored to have played a part in bringing together such an enthusiastic crowd to open up the college football season. We are proud to continue showcasing the vibrant sports culture that Nashville has to offer.”

For the past 26 years, the TransPerfect Music City Bowl has been a highlight of the college football postseason. The bowl game has regularly drawn crowds exceeding 60,000 fans, with Tennessee fans regularly selling out Nissan Stadium. In fact, including Saturday’s season opener, games at Nissan Stadium featuring the Volunteers have surpassed 69,000 fans three out of the last four times.

“The University of Tennessee is extremely proud to be a part of this record-setting game,” Tennessee Vice Chancellor/Director of Athletics Danny White says. “It’s a testament to the incredible support and passion of Vol Nation and we are grateful to have the opportunity to showcase our program in front of such a tremendous crowd. Seeing Nashville light up in orange all weekend just continues to show why we have the best fan base in all of sports.”

The Nashville Sports Council will continue to pursue future college football opportunities in the coming years. Until then, fans are encouraged to attend or tune into the 2023 TransPerfect Music City Bowl, set for Saturday, Dec. 30 at 1 p.m. on ABC.

First Horizon Park To Host Tennessee, Samford In Fall Baseball Exhibition Game

The Nashville Sounds and First Horizon Park will be hosting the University of Tennessee Volunteers and the Samford Bulldogs in a fall exhibition game on Sunday, Nov. 5 at 1 p.m. CT.

“We’re thrilled to be able to bring college baseball back to Hit City one final time in 2023,” says General Manager and Chief Operating Officer Adam English. “It is an honor to bring UT baseball to Middle Tennessee while also hosting an up-and-coming mid-major program in Samford.”

Tickets are on sale now, with concourse level seating starting at $10 plus tax. Club Level seats are available for $20 plus tax. Club Suites and Field Suites are also available. Gates will open at 12 p.m. CT. Tennessee will serve as the home team and occupy the third base dugout.

The Volunteers are coming off a 44-22 season (16-14 SEC). Tennessee swept their way through the Clemson regional before beating Southern Miss in a best-of-three super regional series to make their sixth appearance in the NCAA College World Series, where they took home a fifth-place finish. The Volunteers are coached by Tony Vitello who’s entering his seventh season at the helm.

Last season, Samford won the Southern Conference’s regular season and conference tournament with a 37-25 (15-6 SoCon) record. They qualified for their fourth NCAA Tournament appearance, where they were knocked out in the Hattiesburg Regional by Southern Miss. Tony David is the Bulldogs’ head coach, entering his third season.

Memorial Maniacs Relaunching Ahead Of 2023-24 Vandy Basketball Season

Memorial Maniacs. Photo: Courtesy of Vanderbilt Athletics

The Memorial Maniacs are relaunching as the official student section of Vanderbilt basketball as part of the athletic department’s initiative to give Vandy students the opportunity to directly affect the game day atmosphere at Memorial Gymnasium.

With a rich history and tradition of making Memorial Gymnasium one of the toughest places to play, the Vanderbilt student section has been a catalyst for the game environment for years. The original Memorial Maniacs helped provide the Commodores a distinct home court advantage throughout the 2000s as the official student section of Vanderbilt basketball.

Beginning Wednesday, Vanderbilt University students will have one week to submit their vote for their favorite logo of the four options to be selected as the official Memorial Maniacs logo. Students will receive an email with information on voting and how to cast their vote. Voting will close on Sept. 13 at 11:59 p.m.

Beginning next week, applications for the Memorial Maniacs Student Leadership Group will officially open. A core group of students will be selected to assist the marketing department in providing the best experience for students and Memorial Maniacs at Vanderbilt basketball games this season. The Vanderbilt athletic department found success in its pilot program of the student leadership group during the 2022-23 season and will expand the group’s influence and input beginning with the 2023-24 season.

Students will meet throughout the year to discuss marketing and student experience elements including having direct input on student giveaways, themes, game atmosphere elements and promotions. The leadership group will work in partnership with Vandy Fanatics to help shape the full student experience at Vanderbilt basketball games.

Students are encouraged to check their inboxes for the weekly student email which will include information on how to submit an application to be part of the leadership group.

MTSU Introduces New Ticket Packages For Football

Photo: Courtesy of MTSU Athletics

The Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) Athletic Department has announced three new ticket packages for the 2023 football season. There will be two Corporate ticket packages for the year and a BRAA/Sideline ticket package.

These packages, which can be purchased through the Blue Raider Athletic Association (BRAA), are for new football season ticket holders and are only applicable for the 2023 campaign.

BRAA/Sideline Ticket Package:

This package has a value of $340, but can be purchased for only $300, and includes the following:

  • Two Sideline-Reserved Football Season Tickets
  • One Donor Parking Pass
  • With the purchase of either package, you will also receive a Lightning-level Membership in the Blue Raider Athletic Association ($100 value) for the year.

Corporate Season Ticket Packages:

  • Companies can choose between the Standard or Premier packages. Both packages offer companies the ability to have an outing at a game of their choice.

The Standard Package:

This package has a value of $540 but can be purchased for only $500 and includes the following:

  •  Two Sideline-Reserved Football Season Tickets
  • Lightning-level BRAA Membership + One Donor Parking Pass
  • 25 East Side Group tickets (For one game only)

The Premier Package:

This package has a value of $2,700 but can be purchased for only $2,500 and includes the following:

  • Two  Football Season Tickets in the Jeff Hendrix Stadium Club
  • Ole Blue BRAA Membership
  • One  Donor Parking Pass
  • 25 East Side Group tickets (For one game only)

To purchase one of the packages today, businesses can call the Blue Raider Athletic Association at 615-898-2210.

Eddie George Honored With 2023 Neighborhood Heroes Award

Eddie George with Bristol Motor Speedway President Jerry Caldwell. Photo: Courtesy of TSU Athletics

Tennessee State University (TSU) head football coach Eddie George was honored with the 2023 Neighborhood Heroes Award by Bristol Motor Speedway.

George, who enters his third season leading TSU, was presented with a $1,000 check and a plaque from Jerry Caldwell, General Manager of Bristol Motor Speedway, that will go towards his Legacy Fund and the TSU Athletic Fund.

“For the award to be around since 2018 and to be recognized in this capacity is great,” says George. “I came in with the intention to transform lives and shape these young men’s lives through the prism of football so they can be productive citizens, but also realize their purpose after the game.”

The award recognizes first responders, military members and others in Tennessee who have gone above and beyond the call of duty in their professions to make a significant impact in the lives of others in their communities.

“So often I see athletes—high school, college, and professional—leave the game with no guidance and that’s something I went through as an athlete, leaving the game earlier than I would have liked to,” George says. “I just want to provide for them the guiding light to [plant] seeds to understand that we’re not here just to play football, but give back in a greater way [through football], and all that you aspire [to be] and dream about will come to fruition at its proper time.”

A few of the previous winners of the award include the Nolensville Little League All-Star team in 2022, and Hampton Valley Forge firefighter Chris Russell in 2019.

Vanderbilt Releases Men’s & Women’s Basketball Schedule

Photo: Courtesy of Vanderbilt Athletics

Both Vanderbilt Men’s and Women’s Basketball teams have dropped their much anticipated non-conference schedules ahead of the 2023-2024 seasons.

The men’s team are one of four in the inaugural ESPN Events Vegas Showdown Nov. 23-24, and are set to take on NC State in the first semifinal on the opening night of the tournament. They will face either Arizona State or Brigham Young the second night, with the event scheduled to be held at the Michelob Ultra Arena.

This will mark the Dores’ third consecutive season competing in an ESPN event in front of a national television audience. Vandy went 2-0 at the Diamond Head Classic in Hawaii in 2021, and 1-1 in the Wooden Legacy in California in 2022. They have excelled in neutral-site competition over the last two seasons, including a 4-2 mark in SEC Tournament action over that time.

“We believe that we have constructed a challenging schedule with competition that can prepare our team for success in the SEC and postseason,” says Jerry Stackhouse, Head Coach and reigning SEC Co-Coach of the Year. “Our program will face multiple NCAA Tournament-caliber opponents throughout the non-conference schedule. These contests are beneficial to the development of our team, and in addition they provide significant postseason resume building opportunities. This schedule also provides our student-athletes with multiple home games, TV exposure and unique travel that showcases our program nationally. We are ready to get started and continue building on the momentum that was on display in Memorial last season.”

The Commodores will return home to play host to Boston College on Nov. 29 in the inaugural ACC/SEC Challenge, and will also face Texas Tech as part of the USLBM Coast to Coast Challenge in Fort Worth, Texas, on Dec. 16.

Eight other home contests are on the Dores’ non-conference slate, including four in a row to open the season against Presbyterian (Nov. 7), USC Upstate (Nov. 10), UNC Greensboro (Nov. 14) and Central Arkansas (Nov. 17). Vanderbilt will also play host to Alabama A&M (Dec. 2), San Francisco (Dec. 6), Western Carolina (Dec. 19) and Dartmouth (Dec. 30).

In their last game prior to Christmas break, the Commodores will visit Memphis on Dec. 23 in a battle of two of the state’s marquee programs. Vandy is 8-6 in the all-time series versus the Tigers, who earned an NCAA Tournament bid a year ago.

The women’s team is slated to play a total of 14 non-conference games prior to the start of SEC action this season.

Vandy will host a total of nine non-conference games at Memorial Gymnasium, with the season-opening contest taking place Nov. 6 against Kennesaw State. After a trip to UT Martin on Nov. 9, Vanderbilt opens a three-game homestand at Memorial, beginning Nov. 12 with matchup against Fairfield. The mid-November homestand continues Nov. 15 against Western Kentucky, and concludes Nov. 20 with Alabama State.

“My staff has worked hard to make sure the level of competition we face will not only prepare us for a grueling SEC season, but also helps showcase our talented student-athletes against varying styles of play,” says Head Coach Shea Ralph. “We will visit historic Hinkle Fieldhouse and face familiar and competitive programs in the South Point Shootout and ACC/SEC Challenge. Most importantly, we will spend a lot of time in front of Commodore Nation here in Nashville. After an amazing summer with our team and an unforgettable foreign tour in Italy, I could not be more excited to see this group in action. This will be a special year for the growth of Vanderbilt Women’s Basketball.”

The Commodores close out the month of November with three contests outside of the Music City. Vanderbilt will head to Las Vegas during the week of Thanksgiving to play in the 2023 South Point Thanksgiving Shootout. The Dores begin their Sin City trip with a matchup against Iowa State on Nov. 24, before taking on Northern Iowa the following day. All games at the South Point Thanksgiving Shootout will be played at South Point Casino and Spa. After the Las Vegas trip, Vanderbilt will head to North Carolina to take on NC State on Nov. 29 as part of the ACC/SEC Challenge.

Ralph’s squad opens the final month of 2023 with a home contest against Louisiana Tech on Dec. 3. The last road trip of the 2023-2024 non-conference slate will take place Dec. 7, as the Commodores head to Indianapolis to take on Butler.

Vanderbilt closes out their non-conference schedule with four-straight home games in December. The Dores begin the homestand Dec. 17 against Lipscomb, and will host Dayton for a Dec. 20 contest. Fairleigh Dickinson makes a visit to Memorial Gymnasium on Dec. 29, before the Commodores wrap with a home game against Radford set on Dec. 31.

Lainey Wilson, Darius Rucker & The Cadillac Three Become Voices For ESPN’s ‘College GameDay’

Pictured (clockwise): Lainey Wilson, Darius Rucker, The Cadillac Three

College football is back and country stars Lainey Wilson, Darius Rucker and The Cadillac Three will be the new voices behind ESPN’s College GameDay theme song “Comin’ To Your City.”

Big & Rich have been the voices of theme song of the beloved weekly sports program for nearly 16 years.

ESPN officially announced the new “College GameDay” opening team via social media on Monday (Aug. 28).

Rucker is no stranger to ESPN’s College GameDay, as he’s been a guest picker on the program before and is an unapologetic super fan of his beloved South Carolina Gamecocks.

The fresh interpretation of Big & Rich’s “Comin’ To Your City” is scheduled to debut on Saturday, Sept. 2, as part of College GameDay as the college football season officially kicks off.

Tennessee Vs. Virginia Season Opener Sells Out Nissan Stadium

Photo: Courtesy of the University of Tennessee

The season-opening football clash between the Virginia Cavaliers and the No. 12-ranked Tennessee Volunteers, set to take place this Saturday (Sept. 2) at Nissan Stadium, is officially sold out.

“We are thrilled to announce this Saturday’s game is officially sold out,” says Scott Ramsey, President & CEO of the Nashville Sports Council. “We are excited to welcome the tens of thousands of fans to Nissan Stadium for what promises to be an exciting and memorable matchup between these two outstanding programs.”

Saturday will mark the third time Tennessee has played in a regular season non-conference game at Nissan Stadium since taking on Bowling Green in 2015 and Wyoming in 2002. The Vols, who are coming off an 11-2 season, last played at the stadium in the 2021 TransPerfect Music City Bowl. That game, which was also a sell-out, saw a record-breaking attendance of 69,489 fans.

Virginia returns to Nissan Stadium for the first time since 2005, when they took on Minnesota in the then-Gaylord Hotels Music City Bowl presented by Bridgestone. The Cavaliers won that game 34-31 on a late field goal.

Fans who cannot attend in person are encouraged to tune in to the live broadcast at 11 a.m. CT on ABC.