Tennessee football opens 2017 season in Atlanta

(Source: Tennessee Athletics)

ATLANTA (WATE) – Georgia Tech and Tennessee are set to cap off college football’s 2017 opening weekend on Sept. 4 in the Chick-fil-A Kick Off Game.

“With Georgia Tech and Tennessee, you’re talking about two powerhouse programs that we expect to be ranked in the top 25 coming in to the game,” said Gary Stokan, Peach Bowl, Inc. president and CEO. “We’re looking at a sure sellout and a lot of anticipation for a matchup like this.”

Game organizers confirmed the anticipated match up on Monday, locking in the first game between the Yellow Jackets and Volunteers in 30 years.

“This will be the renewing of a long and beloved rivalry that’s been off the board for far too long,” said Percy Vaughn, Peach Bowl, Inc. chairman. “And it’s a great addition to the long-standing ACC vs. SEC rivalry games we have been able to put together.”

The game will be one of the first college games played in the Falcons’ new Atlanta stadium, set to open earlier that year. The game will kick off in prime time and be nationally telecast on ESPN.

Georgia Tech and Tennessee have met 43 times, with the Volunteers holding a 24-17-2 series lead over the Yellow Jackets. It will be Tennessee’s second appearance in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game, the first a 2012 win over N.C. State. Georgia Tech will be making its first appearance in the game.

This will mark the third time that the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game — the nation’s longest-running kickoff game — has opened the season hosting two games on the season’s first weekend.

The Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game averages more than 66,000 fans per game — higher than 30 bowl games from last year — and its team payout averages $4.3 million which is higher than 21 bowl games last season. Television viewership is also traditionally strong with more than 40 million viewers tuning in to the series since 2008.

For each game, the majority of the tickets will be divided between the two teams, creating a true neutral-site environment. All tickets will be sold through the university ticket offices.

The teams will battle for The Old Leather Helmet Trophy, one of college football’s iconic rivalry-game trophies. Traditionally, winners of The Old Leather Helmet don the helmet on the field after the game, starting with the head coach and then rotating from player to player as the team celebrates its victory.

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