NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — The Iowa Hawkeyes and Kentucky Wildcats are going head-to-head in the 25th Annual TransPerfect Music City Bowl. Over one million fans have attended the bowl game since it’s inception, pumping about $390 million back into the community.
The 2021 bowl (Purdue vs. Tennessee) broke records, making a $32 million impact on Nashville, which includes money made from tourism, hospitality and local business.
Now, the Nashville Convention and Visitors Corporation said hosting an SEC team from a neighboring state could make for another strong turnout.
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“The bowl has obviously built itself into an annual holiday tradition,” said Butch Spyridon, CEO of the Nashville Convention & Visitors Corporation. “I think this particular year having the Titans and the Cowboys on Thursday night, and then the morning of New Year’s Eve having Kentucky and Iowa, and then our New Year’s Eve event, it really spells a great opportunity for Nashville’s hospitality industry, anyway, to finish the year really strong.”
The total attendance for 2021 was third highest among all bowl games for the year with 69,489 fans in the stands. Of those fans, 69% of them traveled to Nashville for the game.
“Both the New Year’s Eve celebration and the bowl were created to really take a dead time of year for Nashville and turn it into a peak time of year, and both have worked,” said Spyridon.
Spyridon said one red flag has popped up that could decrease visitation: Kentucky and Louisville tip off in basketball at the same time as the bowl game.
“There’s no secret, we love the Blue Mist and we think the Blue Mist loves us,” said Spyridon. “Kentucky fans have never disappointed us and we’re going to hope that that string continues.”
The game will take place at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 31 in Nissan Stadium. It will be televised nationally on ABC, marking the Bowl’s first time being featured on network television, according to the Nashville Sports Council.