It was a night for the history books. The date - Saturday, Sept. 10. The event – Battle at Bristol.
For the first time in its 55-year history, Bristol Motor Speedway, an iconic 0.533-mile oval race track, played host to a college football game and not just any football game. It was one that would be the most attended American football game ever starring the University of Tennessee Volunteers and the Virginia Tech Hokies.
Two months prior to the premier event, host officials contacted JHE Production to assist. Utilizing its game operations experience with the Carolina Panthers, the team was responsible for planning and executing pre-game entertainment, in-game presentations, the halftime show and post-game production which included event coordination, run of show creation and execution, management of the flyover, the coin toss and players’ introductions.
The team also custom designed and built an 18 by 13 foot stage that was utilized for VIP introductions, the national anthem and the post-game celebration. In addition, JHE provided field-level audio for the VIP grandstands located closest to the field, in the end zones and hospitality areas throughout the infield.
JHE’s concert production experts also were tasked with eight concerts over the course of two days including performances by country music stars Sam Hunt and Jon Pardi. The team provided full production including staging, lighting, audio and stage management.
Battle at Bristol Fast Facts:
- A record-setting attendance with 156,990 college football fans in the stands.
- Eight concerts managed by JHE included performances by Sam Hunt, Jon Pardi, Acoustifried, Michelle Leigh, Carter Winter, Dalton and the Sheriffs and Alyssa Micaela.
- A 50-yard wide American flag was unfurled during opening ceremonies.
- One minute and 32 seconds of spine-tingling national anthem performance by country music singer and songwriter Jennifer Nettles.
- Management of the national anthem flyover with a C-5 from Dover Air Force Base.
- Coordination of pre-game entertainment featuring approximately 198 players, more than 425 marching band members, dozens of team cheerleaders and 12 VIPs including former NFL quarterback Peyton Manning, former defensive end Bruce Smith and retired Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer as honorary captains.
- As Lee Greenwood and the “Pride of the Southland” Marching Band played “God Bless the USA”, a four-minute firework display lit up the sky during halftime.
- Eleven full-time JHE staff members plus support staff executed the concert and game entertainment.
As the day unfolded, more than 156,990 football fans filled the Bristol bowl, which earned the event a spot in the GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS as the largest attendance at an American football game. It was an unforgettable moment in history for all involved.