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Thigpen: Sold-out JSU rivalry weekend represents $5.1 million impact to Capital City

Marketing, tourism arm of Jackson calls sporting events ‘saving grace’ in face of pandemic
Published: Nov. 22, 2021 at 8:51 PM CST
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - While Jackson State University’s ten-win season translated into intense demand Monday for SWAC championship tickets, the economic impact from the weekend’s Jackson State-Alcorn State rivalry game equated to more than $5 million from a record crowd, according to the head of the city’s convention and visitors bureau.

ESPN reported Saturday’s game attendance at 62,512, representing the largest home crowd ever at Mississippi Veterans Memorial Stadium for a Jackson State game, and ties with two other JSU/ASU matchups from 1996 and 1994.

“It was beautiful to just see everybody there. It was no drama. It was nothing. Everybody was there watching the game, having fun. It was history,” said season ticket holder Ed Michael.

Visit Jackson President and CEO Rickey Thigpen said that economic impact also reaches beyond Jackson.

“We’re talking about Jackson being full. We also talking about Ridgeland, Flowood, Pearl, Clinton, and Vicksburg. This was great for the state of Mississippi,” Thigpen said. “So kudos again to Jackson State, kudos to all the collaborative partnerships that were around the cities and just proud and ready to do it again.”

Thigpen hopes for another sellout crowd next month when the Tigers face off against Prairie View A&M in the SWAC championship, and if Monday’s lines around the Vet for those tickets are any indication, the city could see millions more dollars ultimately spent and invested.

“The whole city has come out to support Jackson State, even people who are not alums. We just happy to see some positive vibes going on in the city right now,” said Arianna Cargin, a JSU alumnae.

As of 6:15 p.m. Monday, dozens of people remained in line for tickets and parking passes, many of whom had waited since that morning.

“I don’t know how many are over there, but whoever runs this thing, they don’t need to be running it,” said a man who identified himself only as Walter. “I could run it better than they can. I can run this right here better than they can. I’ve been here ever since 9 o’clock this morning.”

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