Inside how Jackson State preps for airing football on ESPN, fans react to publicity


JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – The stage is set for a nationwide broadcast out of Veterans Memorial Stadium as Jackson State kicks off Saturday against Southern University. Even with a half capacity limit the atmosphere is expected to be bursting with the fans of Tiger World, for all sports fans coast to coast to see on ESPN for the first time in decades.

Since one of the best names in football rose to the helm of Jackson State’s program, fans from around and outside Mississippi have wanted to get a firsthand look at a historic season in the making.

“I think it’s a great opportunity, I think it’s great for the city of Jackson,” Brandee Harrington told us after picking up tickets. “And great for us to have people come and see what Jackson has been able to support the Jackson State Tigers.”

“I do live in Dallas and when I got word Deion Sanders was here, I was excited,” Tommy Cavett said. “Because he is a person that could bring attention to the college we probably would never get.”

Jackson State Athletic Administration says it’s the first time ever ESPN has aired a game from Veterans Memorial, also the first time Jackson State Football appeared on the network since 1989.

“College Football Universe will be looking at Jackson, MS this weekend, and rightfully so,” Dennis Driscoll, JSU Sports Information Director stated. “TV games are TV games, there’s stuff you have to do to make sure you help ESPN put on a good product.”

With a limited number of tickets available this season, JSU Athletics has been working to adjust to more demand. Fueled by nationwide publicity Jackson State’s sports team must coordinate to show their best image.

“No one thought Deion Sanders would be the head coach at Jackson State, but coach Sanders is here,” Driscoll added. “And it’s just a great experience to be working with someone like Coach Prime and if someone needs to call me on my cell phone I’d probably answer right now in the middle of this interview.”

ESPN is also carrying next week’s homecoming game as the Tigers host Alabama A&M. If you want tickets to Saturday’s game, your only option now is to order online at TicketMaster, where they can be scanned on your phone or printed out before you leave home.

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