The Southern Heritage Classic began in 1990 as a way to give top teams from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) an opportunity to showcase themselves on a big stage. Sponsored by local company FedEx, the game is held in September at the start of the college football season at the historic Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium. It is one of the premier Memphis events and a signature Memphis football game that brings fans from all over town and beyond.

Whether you’re a casual observer of college football or a rabid fan who enjoys any reason to get on a plane and travel to Memphis, the game can serve as the perfect backdrop to many different things to do in the city. Come to the Southern Heritage Classic, scheduled to kick off during the week of September 11–15, 2019, and discover the best big city west of Los Angeles. Discover why you (and your family or friends) should plan to enjoy this Memphis sports event and see two HBCU teams clash under the bright lights of the Liberty Bowl at the Southern Heritage Classic.

About the game

The game, the 30th in this showcase of HBCU teams, is a huge draw for fans of HBCU football. Among the games played by these schools, it is the fourth best-attended event during the college football season among classic-style games. It has traditionally featured the schools Jackson State (MS) University (Tigers) and the Tigers of Nashville-based Tennessee State University. Since the first matchup of these schools in 1990, Jackson State and Tennessee State have together earned more than $10 million in revenue toward their general student scholarship funds and other programs to further educational opportunities for students.

The game has also been an economic boon for the area as well, netting more than $21 million in economic impact for local businesses. The growth of the game, which also includes sponsors Allstate Insurance, AutoZone, Nike and Carrier along with FedEx, has proved a huge benefit for everyone involved. The game also gives local Memphis a chance to show off a bit as it is aired on the FOX SportsSouth network.

Ways to celebrate the Classic

There are many ways to celebrate the Southern Heritage Classic. Some of the events that are tied directly to the game itself include:

  • Classic Business Conference
  • Coaches Luncheon
  • Southern Heritage Classic Parade

In addition to these events, visitors should take the time during their stay (whether one day or all four) to immerse themselves in the local Memphis scene. There is much to do and see around the city, including walking tours of many of the historically significant landmarks in the city, including the Lorraine Hotel, home to the National Civil Rights Museum; and Sun Records Studio, where many great artists (including Elvis Presley) got their start.

Attend the parade, meet with local business leaders instrumental in bring the game into existence, and interact with other fans of great HBCU football. Whatever your reason for coming, come spend some time in Memphis, take in the game and pageantry that surround it, and learn a little more about what it is that makes Memphis a great American city!

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