Thompson-Boling Arena to seat 18% of capacity for upcoming basketball season

Capacity inside Thompson-Boling Arena will be capped at 4000 for Vols and Lady Vols
Published: Nov. 5, 2020 at 9:16 AM EST
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Tip-off time in Tennessee is fast approaching and while which teams Tennessee will play has not been revealed, we do know what it will look like inside Thompson-Boling Arena once the Vols and Lady Vols take to the Summitt floor.

The University of Tennessee announced that the maximum attendance of games inside TBA will be capped at 18 percent or 4000 fans. That includes everyone from media to season-ticket holder’s up in the skyboxes.

Yes, it will be a different look inside the arena this season and that includes the 12-foot buffer zone between the stands and the floor, primarily to keep those who have been under strict Covid protocols separated from the outside public.

Seating for the general public will begin on row five and work its way up maintaining proper social distancing of at least 6 feet in between the various groupings of fans. Face coverings will be required of fans once inside Thompson-Boling Arena.

There will be an allotment of student tickets and the UT students will occupy sections 128, 129 and 130. The student allotment will count toward the 4000 capacity as will the suites high above the Arena floor.

As for the fan experience, the SEC has yet to decide on things like extra crowd noise being piped into the Arena. What we can tell you is there will not be any special concourse level giveaways or autograph sessions set up prior to or after games.

Season ticket holders will get the first crack at the limited amount of tickets available for each game, with priority based on Tennessee Fund annual gift amount and rank order. Those seats will go on sale on November 10th, but there will only be a 24-hour window in which those who are reached out to first can stake their claim to tickets.

Additional groups who may receive priority for non-premium ticket allocation status for basketball include donors who contributed to the construction or renovation of Thompson-Boling Arena, made basketball-specific gifts to the Campaign for Comprehensive Excellence or made gifts to the Campaign for Tennessee Basketball.

Regardless of one’s decision to opt in or out for this season, everyone who purchased 2020-21 basketball season tickets will retain their status as a season-ticket holder along with their seats of choice when the 2021-22 renewal process begins.

In order to accommodate as many ticket accounts as possible, quantity caps will be placed on most donor accounts—ranging from eight to four based on donor segment—and there will be significantly fewer tickets allocated for university and internal use. Visiting teams will receive 80 tickets per game.

The donor ticket caps range from eight to four to two. Most donors are capped at four or two tickets, but there is a small number of donors whose giving reaches the level of receiving eight.

Gates will open an hour and a half for the UT men and an hour prior to tip-off for Lady Vols games. Fans will also notice something different on the floor with the benches for each team situated on opposite sides of the floor.

Pending the status of the pandemic, officials said they hope the plan is only required for one season and that Thompson-Boling Arena can return to its traditional seating model next year.

“Despite having gone through a similar process for football earlier this fall, the reality that we will be unable to welcome all of our ticket holders into Thompson-Boling Arena this basketball season remains saddening,” Tennessee Director of Athletics Phillip Fulmer said. “There’s no easy way to adjust to the circumstances we find ourselves in. But we’ve been thoughtful and deliberate in attempting to offer attendance opportunities to as many of our season-ticket holders as possible while also maintaining the safest arena environment possible.”

This season’s home schedule for the Vols will include a handful of non-conference games in November and December, nine SEC contests and a showdown with Kansas as part of the SEC/Big 12 Challenge. The Lady Vols' home schedule is highlighted by eight SEC games and a Hall of Fame revival series clash with UConn and also will include additional non-conference tilts.

Fans who receive ticket-offer emails from are advised to look closely at the seat location listed in the ticket offer, as the location likely will be different than their original seats of intent.

Suite, loge and floor-seat ticket holders will receive information about their options for this season but are encouraged to contact the Tennessee Fund if they have additional questions.

Tennessee Athletics cannot guarantee that tickets purchased on the secondary market will be for seats that are socially distanced from strangers.

Capacity restrictions in place at the start of the basketball season could change as the season progresses.

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