KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — As fans are gearing up for the Vols’ first football game of the season, those with the University of Tennessee are getting the stadium ready.
When fans walk into Neyland Stadium there are several changes they’re going to notice immediately, like the new video board. Other renovations aren’t going to be as noticeable but are supposed to make the fan experience more enjoyable.
Ryan Alpert is the deputy athletics director/chief operating officer at UT.
“They’re 10K, they’re the brightest video boards in all of college football,” he said.
Fans sitting anywhere inside the stadium will be able to see either video screen. Along the top of the south end of the stadium, the V-O-L-S letters have been reinstalled.
New to the north end is a standing-room-only social deck.
“As we talk about honoring our past, putting the Vols letters back in Neyland Stadium is certainly extremely important to our administration, to our fan base, but I think products like this, the upper north social deck that we’re standing in, as you can see is a modern twist and bringing in something that’s never been delivered in Neyland Stadium,” Alpert said.
Seating capacity prior to the renovations was 102,455.
“The new number is 101,915,” Alpert said. “So, it was important for us to stay above 100,000.”
Some of those seats include new chairback seats directly behind Tennessee’s sideline. Underneath the chairback seats is a 12,000-square-foot indoor club space.
The areas were added to enhance the fan experience, get more fans in the stands and help pay for added renovations in the future, according to UT.
“We’ve sold over 19,000 season tickets this year. We want to continue that trend to get us back to our peak levels back in 2009 and ,” Alpert said.
There are several more upgrades in the works. Some of those upgrades in the next phase of this renovation will include getting Wi-Fi throughout the stadium and upgraded bathrooms.
The project to renovate the stadium is estimated to cost $288 million. Renovations won’t be fully completed until 2026.