By Tom Wood
Arrive early. Not too soon. But promptly. That’s the ticket to becoming the millionth fan to attend the Music City Bowl.
At least that’s my strategy going into Friday’s 2:30 p.m. (CST) kickoff of the 19th annual Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl between Tennessee (8-4) and Nebraska (9-3). The game begins at 2:30 p.m., and will be televised on ESPN. Gates open at 12:30.
A total of 986,002 fans have attended 18 previous editions of Nashville’s annual postseason college football game, meaning the 13,998th person to enter Nissan Stadium for Friday’s game will become the milestone millionth fan and receive a grand prize package in honor of the occasion.
The grand prize package from MCB partner tnvacation.com includes a seat upgrade and Bowl swag, plus a featured recognition on the Jumbotron during the game.
“It’s a nice package for a pretty great milestone,” said Scott Ramsey, president and CEO of the Music City Bowl. “We’re excited about the matchup.”
This year’s game is already listed as a sell-out, though a few scattered single tickets remained as of late Monday. Still, it is anyone’s guess as to when the millionth fan will enter the stadium.
But the way I figure it, I’ve got a one-in-69,143 shot at being the millionth fan.
Game-day activities begin at 9 a.m., across the Cumberland River with a Fan Zone on Broadway. Both teams will have pre-game pep rallies there, Nebraska’s running from 10:45-11:15 a.m., and UT’s from 11:30-noon—followed by a pregame concert by Jason Eskridge from 12:30-2 p.m. There’s also the official MCB tailgate party outside the stadium, a ticketed event, from 11:30-2.
This is UT’s second Music City Bowl appearance and the Vols’ 2010 game — a 30-27 double-overtime loss to North Carolina—was the most-attended game at 69,143.
Through 18 previous games, Music City Bowl attendance averaged 54,778. Below is a year-by-year look at attendance figures.
MUSIC CITY BOWL ATTENDANCE
|Year||Result||Yearly & Total Att.|
|2015||Louisville 27, Texas A&M 21||50,478 986,002|
|2014||Notre Dame 31, LSU 28||60,419 935,524|
|2013||Ole Miss 25, Georgia Tech 17||52,125 875,105|
|2012||Vanderbilt 38, North Carolina State 24||55,801 822,980|
|2011||Mississippi State 23, Wake Forest 17||55,208 767,179|
|2010||North Carolina 30, Tennessee 27 2-OT||69,143* 711,971|
|2009||Clemson 21, Kentucky 13||57,280 642,828|
|2008||Vanderbilt 16, Boston College 14||54,250 585,548|
|2007||Kentucky 35, Florida State 28||68,661* 531,298|
|2006||Kentucky 28, Clemson 20||68,024* 462,637|
|2005||Minnesota 31, Virginia 34||40,519 394,613|
|2004||Minnesota 20, Alabama 16||66,089* 354,094|
|2003||Auburn 28, Wisconsin 14||55,109 288,005|
|2002||Minnesota 29, Arkansas 14||39,183 232,896|
|2001||Boston College 20, Georgia 16||46,125 193,713|
|2000||West Virginia 49, Ole Miss 38||47,119 147,588|
|1999||Syracuse 20, Kentucky 13||59,221 100,469|
|1998||Virginia Tech 38, Alabama 7||41,248* ….41,248|