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Old Posted Mar 21, 2010, 6:59 PM
Johnny Ryall Johnny Ryall is offline
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Ring in the New Year at the Liberty Bowl
Memphis Business Journal

The AutoZone Liberty Bowl is moving back to New Year’s Eve. The 52nd annual game — which will be nationally televised by ESPN — will be played Friday, Dec. 31 at 2:30 p.m. The 2009-10 season’s Liberty Bowl game between the University of Arkansas and East Carolina University, played on Jan. 2, had a TV rating of 3.8, according to Nielsen Media Research. The game’s rating was up 65 percent from the previous year when Kentucky played East Carolina. The Dec. 31 date is “one of the most sought-after on the bowl schedule this year,” according to a statement from AutoZone Liberty Bowl’s office.

The Liberty Bowl’s affiliation with the Southeastern Conference expired after the 2009-10 season and the affiliation has not yet been renewed. Liberty Bowl executive director Steve Ehrhart said the two parties are close to securing a new agreement. The bowl still has three years left in its affiliation with Conference USA. The fact that the game falls on a holiday in 2010 means more fans will be able to attend, Ehrhart said in the statement.

A sell-out crowd of 62,742 people attended the Arkansas-East Carolina game, the second-highest attendance in the game’s history. The highest attendance the bowl game ever recorded was the 2007 contest between Mississippi State University and the University of Central Florida when 63,816 people attended. A few hundred seats were removed from the stadium in 2009 to meet Americans with Disabilities Act requirements.
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