"Similar to the excitement surrounding Midnight Madness, there's also excitement around football in the spring," says Mike Hamilton, men's athletic director at University of Tennessee, which is one of about 20 Division I universities nationwide selected by MSL (the event's creator and producer) to serve as a Gridiron Bash host site. "Tens of thousands of spectators come out each spring to watch our football scrimmages, but that's typically where the ‘fan experience' ends. Gridiron Bash extends the experience and enables fans to support their team, give back to their university and have a great time doing so."
The University of Tennessee's Spring Game attendance last year reached 17,409. With the first-ever Gridiron Bash™, attendance should go up. In total, Gridiron Bash™ is expected to bring participating universities in 2008 an estimated $12 million resulting from gate and merchandise revenue, as well as the opportunity to raise funds through parking, food and beverage sales.
At the core of Gridiron Bash™ is a fan contest --The USA TODAY Bash for Cash Series™ -- that will establish which of the participating schools has the most passionate and supportive fans. The USA TODAY Bash for Cash Series™ winners will be determined by adding up the total attendance at the Gridiron Bash™ event and combining that with the number of fans who text/call in to vote for their school. MSL projects total attendance to be about 1 million.
The USA TODAY Bash for Cash Series™ winning university will receive a $1 million contribution to their General Scholarship fund, with 2nd and 3rd place schools receiving $500,000 and $250,000 respectively. Presentation of the winning schools will be aired live in conjunction with a soon-to-be-announced national television partner.
"We're thrilled to bring Gridiron Bash to University of Tennessee," says Shawn Garrity, president of MSL Sports and Entertainment and a former linebacker at Syracuse. "The event will set a new tradition around spring football and feed the appetite of fans looking to be involved with the program beyond the season. Gridiron Bash truly is the ultimate fan competition. It offers fans the ideal opportunity to give back to the universities."
In addition to Tennessee, other schools participating in Gridiron Bash include: Penn State, Colorado, Texas A&M, Utah, Iowa, Arizona State, Kansas State, West Virginia, Rutgers, Washington and South Carolina. MSL is finalizing partnerships with the following schools: Maryland, Kentucky, UTEP, Auburn, Alabama and Boston College. Among the artists participating (in addition to Taylor Swift & Montgomery Gentry) are Fergie, Maroon 5, Kelly Clarkson, ZZ Top, Counting Crows, Goo Goo Dolls, Dwight Yoakam, Fall Out Boy, Good Charlotte, O.A.R., and Black Crowes.
Gridiron Bash™ will mark the second time that University of Tennessee has opened up Neyland Stadium for a live performance.
For more information please visit www.gridironbash.com.
About MSL Sports and Entertainment
Manhattan-based MSL ( www.mslsportsent.com) builds and develops cutting-edge entertainment properties with the purpose of connecting consumers, brands and media. In addition to rolling out trend-setting new properties -- such as the Gridiron Bash™ at Division I schools and the East Meets West All-American Game -- MSL's core services include branding, TV production (with assets including, Inside the Big East, numerous Division I Coaches Shows and other television properties), sponsorship sales, public relations, celebrity procurement and every aspect of event management. MSL also runs a nationally recognized scouting and recruiting service that works with universities, athletes and media organizations.