Music City Bowl Could Have Smaller Attendance With Kentucky Scheduling Conflict
Tomorrow's Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl between Kentucky and Northwestern is projecting attendance "well below last year’s sellout of 68,496 in Tennessee’s win over Nebraska" with UK's basketball team playing Louisville earlier in the day at Rupp Arena, according to Adam Sparks of the Nashville TENNESSEAN. Music City Bowl CEO Scott Ramsey said that the combination of UK’s "scheduling conflict and a smaller fan base from Northwestern has put ticket sales in the upper-40,000 range." Ramsey said, "It’s not ideal timing, but sometimes you have to work around other schedules. So we will try to turn it into a positive for the fans coming to Nashville by giving them sort of a doubleheader." UK men’s basketball takes on Louisville at 12:00pm ET on CBS, while the bowl game is at 4:30 on ESPN. Kentucky’s "last trip" to the Music City Bowl in '09 drew 57,280 fans in a loss to Clemson (Nashville TENNESSEAN, 12/28). In Lexington, John Clay notes UK has yet to "sell its allotment of 8,000 tickets" for tomorrow’s bowl. That "doesn’t mean that less than 8,000 UK fans will be on hand in the Music City." There are "plenty of ways to get bowl tickets without going through the university’s athletic department." But it does "raise a red flag." After it was established that UK was headed to Tennessee to play a Big Ten team, AD Mitch Barnhart was "right to make a plea to the fans for their support" (LEXINGTON HERALD-LEADER, 12/28).
LESS IS MORE: THE TYLT wrote with "so many bowl games, and with teams not even required to have winning seasons, fans have to tolerate uneven football that is mildly passable all because teams want paydays at the end of the year." If the NCAA wants to "improve the brand of its bowl games, it needs to cut some of the irrelevant matchups out, and improve the quality of competition." The postseason "will be better for it" (THETYLT.com, 12/27).