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Tigers Football Insider: AD Laird Veatch expects ticket sales to pick up
University of Memphis athletic director Laird Veatch speaks to the media before the Tigers' Friday Night Lights spring game April 21, 2023. (Patrick Lantrip/The Daily Memphian file)

University of Memphis athletic director Laird Veatch speaks to the media before the Tigers' Friday Night Lights spring game April 21, 2023. (Patrick Lantrip/The Daily Memphian file)

Welcome back to the Tigers Football Insider, where we bring you the latest news and analysis from The Daily Memphian’s Frank Bonner II, Geoff Calkins and Tim Buckley each week.

Speaking with media members Wednesday, Memphis Tigers athletic director Laird Veatch was asked about ticket sales, updates on potential conference realignment and if a dollar amount has been set to use toward renovation of Simmons Bank Liberty Stadium from $350 million in state funding that has approved for city-owned sports facilities renovations.

The Tigers will kick off the 2023 season against Bethune-Cookman on Sept. 2 at home, but Veatch didn’t have specific numbers on ticket sales for the season.


“I would say it’s OK. Not where we want it to be,” Veatch said. “We need it to continue to elevate in terms of the renewals and new sales, but we really expect that to pick up over the next couple of months.”

Veatch also that said although there are continued conversations quietly taking place, there are no newsworthy updates on the Tigers’ conference realignment efforts. But he continued to reiterate how the approved funding for the stadium renovations made a positive impact on potential conference destinations.

“As I had mentioned in a few other interviews up to this point, I think the term I used was it ‘raised some eyebrows,’” Veatch said.

“I would say that has continued just in terms of the attention that got because commissioners and presidents in conferences are looking for commitment. They’re looking for places that are looking to invest and compete at a high level. That was certainly a great example of commitment by our state and our city.”

The Tigers know they’ll be getting some of the state funding but are still waiting to find out how much. That information from Mayor Jim Strickland hasn’t been communicated to the university yet, according to Veatch.


Veatch spoke to media members in front of the Kroger store on Shelby Drive to announce the Tigers’ continued partnership with Kroger and its efforts to fight hunger in the community. For at least the third straight season, Kroger will sponsor the 901 game against Bethune-Cookman.

Tickets for the season opener will be on sale for $10 from May 24 through Aug. 18. Three meals will be provided to a family in need through the Mid-South Food Bank for each ticket sold. Tickets can be purchased online or QR codes will be available at Mid-South area Kroger stores. 

The initiative is part of a continued effort from members of the Memphis athletic department to stay involved in supporting the community. Football players will also be running a free youth camp at St. Michael Church from 9-11 a.m. on June 3. The camp is for kids ages 6-13.

“This community cares about the Tigers and about each other,” Veatch said. “It’s a special place that really embraces everything that is Memphis and we’re certainly part of that, so (the community relationship) has been awesome.”

More from your Insider:

Former Louisiana Tech defensive lineman commits to Memphis

Keveion’ta Spears, who appeared in 12 games as a redshirt freshman last season, is the fifth transfer defensive lineman joining the Tigers for 2023.

Former Sam Houston kicker commits to Memphis

Former Sam Houston State kicker Seth Morgan made 15-of-21 field goals last season. He made all 14 of his extra-point attempts and completed 36 kickoffs with nine touchbacks as a sophomore.

Transfer portal tracker: Memphis Tigers football

Multiple members of coach Ryan Silverfield’s 2022 team have entered the NCAA transfer portal and there are plenty of pickups too. Here’s a tracker.

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