Memphis received the largest donation in school history, and the money will be used for stadium renovations.
The school announced Tuesday that the Smith family has donated $50 million to renovate Simmons Bank Liberty Stadium. The donation comes from the Fred Smith Family Foundation. Fred Smith was Smith’s father. atlanta falcons Coach Arthur Smith was the founder of FedEx. The company is headquartered in Memphis.
“Upgrading and modernizing two of this community’s most important sports venues, FedEx Forum and the Liberty Bowl, are critical to the future of the FedEx headquarters city,” the Smith family said in a statement. “Similarly, adding to the appeal of Memphis as a city Entertainment destinations around FedEx Forum and the Liberty Bowl are critical to economic growth and significant job growth. Tourism is our second largest industry after logistics, which will help drive more activity and activity in our hometown Development. We believe Memphis’ future is tied to their success.”
The city of Memphis also announced Tuesday that Councilman Chase Carlisle introduced a resolution to allocate $120 million in state funds for stadium renovations. The resolution also includes the transfer of ownership to the University of Memphis. The Liberty Bowl is currently owned by the City of Memphis.
Mayor Jim Strickland made it clear in a city statement that stadium renovations are underway with the goal of bringing Memphis into the Power Five conference.
“As a Tigers fan and a UM graduate, I’m extremely pleased that we were able to achieve this goal,” Strickland said. “With these renovations, the stadium will receive a much-needed upgrade, which puts the university in a strong position.” They continue to work hard to join the Power Five conference.”
The school said detailed plans for the stadium renovation will be announced later.
Memphis currently sits at 8-3 heading into its final regular-season game at Temple. The school has been part of the American Athletic Conference since moving out of the American Conference at the end of the 2012 season. The school was ignored by the majors a year ago in December in favor of other now-AAC schools UCF, Houston and Cincinnati, when the conference added four teams to replace Texas and Oklahoma because They announced they were leaving the SEC.