Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium (originally Memphis Memorial Stadium) is a football stadium, located at the Mid-South Fairgrounds, in Midtown Memphis, Tennessee, United States. The stadium is the site of the annual AutoZone Liberty Bowl, and is the home field of the University of Memphis Tigers football team. It has also been the host of several attempts at professional sports in the city, as well as other local football games and other gatherings.
The stadium was originally built as Memphis Memorial Stadium in 1965 for $3 million, as a part of the Mid-South Fairgrounds, one of the South’s most popular fairs. The fairgrounds also include the Mid-South Coliseum (formerly the city’s major indoor venue) as well as the now closed Libertyland amusement park. It was dedicated to the citizens of Memphis who had served in World War I, World War II, and the Korean War.
It was built partially as a way to bring the Liberty Bowl to a permanent home in Memphis (The game had started in Philadelphia, but because of poor attendance for a northern bowl, it left the city, playing one year in Atlantic City before settling in Memphis). The game was such a success for Memphis that the stadium was renamed Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium in 1976.
As originally built, the stadium was lopsided, with the southwest side being taller than the northeast. A 1987 expansion brought it to its current, balanced size. Its design is similar to that of old Tampa Stadium ("The Big Sombrero"), with the endzone grandstands being much shorter than the sidelines. The field, which had been natural grass since its inception, was replaced with a FieldTurf surface before the 2005 season.