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Simmons Bank says it will keep 'Liberty' in new name for Memphis stadium

The 58,325-seat Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium will soon have a new name: Simmons Bank Liberty Stadium.
Credit: WATN

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — UPDATE 10/21/2021 - Simmons Bank said it is tweaking the new name for the Liberty Bowl as it continues negotiations for a title sponsorship with the City of Memphis. The new name will be Simmons Bank Liberty Stadium.

Earlier this month, Simmons leaders announced the sponsorship plans.

“Although history would suggest the use of the original name, Memorial Stadium, the incredible support of Memphians in favor of using the word ‘Liberty’ in the name of the stadium has resulted in a new name for the stadium – Simmons Bank Liberty Stadium,” said George A. Makris, Jr., chairman and CEO of Simmons, in a statement. “The feedback we received, especially from veterans, was that ‘Liberty’ more broadly recognized the service and sacrifice of our veterans by remembering WHY they served so faithfully – to preserve our liberty.”

Statement from Steve Ehrhart Executive Director, AutoZone Liberty Bowl

“The AutoZone Liberty Bowl is the 7th oldest Bowl in America. We are preparing to kick-off our 63rd consecutive annual game on December 28, 2021. The AutoZone Liberty Bowl is nationally recognized and coincidentally has hosted 63 different universities from around the country, many on multiple occasions.”

“We want to emphasize as strongly as possible that the name of the AutoZone Liberty Bowl college football game is not changing. The name of the bowl game is and will continue to be the AutoZone Liberty Bowl for many years to come. We very much appreciate AutoZone’s steadfast commitment and support as the title sponsor of the AutoZone Liberty Bowl.”

“Our founder, Bud Dudley, returned from flying many missions over Europe during World War II where he lost many of his fellow pilots and navigators. Bud vowed to found an institution that would salute and preserve the concept of Liberty. Our Bowl Game commemorating Liberty thus was born in 1959. Thereafter, in 1975, the stadium in Memphis was renamed Liberty Bowl Stadium in tribute to the AutoZone Liberty Bowl. We are pleased that Simmons Bank retained the name Liberty in the stadium’s name and that Simmons Bank Liberty Stadium will continue to host the AutoZone Liberty Bowl for years to come.”

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10/1/2021 - The Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium will soon have a new name, city leaders announced on Friday.

The 58,325-seat venue will soon be called the Simmons Bank Memorial Stadium. 

“I couldn’t be happier with this public/private partnership that will allow us to enhance the overall fan experience at the stadium and will tie in perfectly with the $126 million Liberty Park development right next door,” Mayor Jim Strickland said. “Through this partnership with Simmons Bank, we continue to honor the history of the stadium while ushering in a new area as Simmons Bank Memorial Stadium.”

Simmons Bank signed a title sponsorship deal to get the naming rights. The stadium opened in 1965 and serves as a tribute to the veterans of World War I, World War II and the Korean War. 

“With the continued reinvestment surrounding the Liberty Bowl and many other areas across the city, Simmons Bank is proud to partner with the City of Memphis to ensure the future of this historic stadium which represents a critical element of this important renaissance project,” said George A. Makris, Jr., chairman and CEO of Simmons Bank. “As Simmons Bank Memorial Stadium, the name will continue to uphold the honor and tradition the stadium serves as a tribute to our veterans.”

The stadium is in the heart of Midtown and includes 40 skyboxes, seven executive suites and a 175-person stadium club.