The History of Simmons Bank Liberty Stadium

SBLS is a 136-acre multi-purpose sports and entertainment complex centered around the iconic Stadium. Previously known as Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium, SBLS was opened in 1965 as Memphis Memorial Stadium. Over the years the Stadium and Liberty Park have seen numerous renovations and expansions, and now has a capacity of 58,325. The complex has been managed by OVG 360 since 2022. The Stadium is home to the University of Memphis Tigers, Southern Heritage Classic and AutoZone Liberty Bowl. In addition to football, the venue accommodates other events such as concerts, family shows, band competitions and corporate events.

Liberty Park includes the 15-acre Tiger Lane, 27,000 sq. ft. Pipkin Building, 20,000 sq. ft. Creative Arts Building and over 90 additional acres of green space and parking lots. These additional facilities and spaces are used to host festivals, run/walks, car and bike shows/races, Memphis Roller Derby, Memphis Flea Market, Bluff City Fair and a wide variety of community events. View our Events page here.

All Liberty Park facilities/spaces are available for rent. For concerts and music festivals there are three possible locations: Stadium, Tiger Lane and Purple Lot (festival grounds).

The primary purpose of Simmons Bank Liberty Stadium in Liberty Park is to provide a first class gathering place for sports, entertainment and community events, and to transform the events hosted into amazing experiences for patrons and promoters.

Stadium Stats – 5 decades

1965 — The date the Simmons Bank Liberty Stadium opened.
7 — Number of acres of ground covered by the facility.
$4 million — What it cost to build.
$80 — Original construction cost per seat.
16 — Number of sell-outs before recouping the original cost.
$5 — What a ticket cost per seat.
($6 for a box seat) when it opened.
$19.5 million — Cost of 1987 renovations.
50,160 — The original seating capacity.
57,266 — Current seating capacity.

Stadium Tenants – a time line

1965 – Present, University of Memphis Tigers Football
1965 – Present, AutoZone Liberty Bowl Football Classic
1974 – 1975, Memphis Southmen, aka Grizzlies (World Football League, WFL)
1978 – 1980, Memphis Rogues (North American Soccer League, NASL)
1984 – 1985, Memphis Showboats (United States Football League, USFL)
1990 – Present, Southern Heritage Classic Presented by FedEx annual football game
1995 – Memphis Mad Dogs (Canadian Football League, CFL)
1997 – Tennessee Oilers (Now Tennessee Titans, National Football League, NFL)
2001 – Memphis Maniax, XFL

Major Concerts – Were you there?

1975 – Rolling Stones
1988 – Monsters of Rock (Metallica, Kingdom Come, Dokken, Van Halen, Scorpions)
1993 – Paul McCartney
1994 – Rolling Stones
1997 – U2