Music City Bowl does not expect a sellout, figures to be satisfied

Thursday, December 15, 2011 at 9:39pm

Three of the last five Music City Bowls have sold out.

The 2011 installment doesn’t appear to be headed that way.

Music City Bowl president and CEO Scott Ramsey isn’t considering that a disappointment. Not when hotels in downtown and off West End are nearly sold out for the Thursday, Friday and Saturday surrounding the Dec. 30 matchup between Mississippi State and Wake Forest at LP Field.

“I’m very positive,” Ramsey said. “I think we’ve got two fan bases that are excited about coming here, which is a huge thing, and are going to show up in great numbers and fill up the city.”

Ramsey is still expecting a crowd in the “mid-to-upper” fifty-thousands. Thanks to an overwhelming amount of pre-orders, Mississippi State sold its initial allotment of 12,000 tickets on the same day the Bulldogs’ received their bowl invitation two weeks ago.

Demand has been so high for Mississippi State (6-6) that the school also bought an extra allotment of 2,000 tickets in the club and lower levels.

“They go out to their fan base and give them three or four cities to have options and Nashville was a favorite one among their fans,” said Ramsey, who noted Atlanta, Jacksonville and Memphis were the other three options.

Wake Forest (6-6) has not sold all of its 10,000-ticket allotment yet. Ramsey said when he visited campus last week, the Demon Deacons had sold 60 to 65 percent. Wake Forest athletic department spokesperson Steve Shutt would not disclose ticket sales but said the school is “on target and we expect to sell out our allotment.”

Winston-Salem, N.C., is approximately a seven-hour trip to Nashville — a couple hours longer than the trek from Starkville, Miss. What could factor into ticket sales is the fact that Wake Forest is a small school with an undergraduate enrollment of 4,500.

“If they end up selling six, seven, eight, nine thousand tickets, that is a pretty impressive number for a school that size,” Ramsey said. “I think that really, again, underscores the popularity of Nashville. Here is a team that struggled down the stretch a little bit, losing some games but are real excited about coming to our city.”

Tickets are still available for the game, which will kick off at 5:40 p.m. and will be televised on ESPN. Wake Forest has the only lower ($60) and club ($80) level tickets remaining. They can be purchased by calling 336-758-3322. Upper level tickets — $39 on the sideline and $17 on the corners — can be purchased by calling 615-743-3130 or online at musiccitybowl.com/tickets.

The Music City Bowl is in its 14th year, but has never featured Mississippi State or Wake Forest, which have never met on the football field.