With just over seven weeks before the Tennessee Volunteers host Ball State to kick off their 2022 season, Neyland Stadium’s renovations are beginning to come to fruition. The Vols have completed quite a few updates and renovations to their home football stadium over the years, and this summer was no different. This time though, there are new(er) things, which fans will quickly notice, especially in-person.
While Tennessee unveiled its new V-O-L-S signs above Neyland last week, there are also a number of renovations inside the stadium, which the general public won’t see until the season opener.
Today we got a glimpse of the renovations happening to Neyland Stadium!— Kellyanne Stitts (@KellyanneStitts) January 13, 2022
They are adding a videoboard to the north-side of the stadium. The lower west sideline sections will feature a chair-back seating enhancement and a field-level club. #Vols #Tennessee pic.twitter.com/tEoiky9xNv
The Vols have added several rows of luxury chairback in the lower bowl directly behind Tennessee’s sideline. With that, 12,00 square feet of indoor club space has also been added underneath this new chairback seating deck.
Along with new seating in the lower bowl, Tennessee has also added a new jumbotron in the upper deck behind the north endzone. A new standing-room-only and walking section has been added directly below the new large video board. Now, fans on both sides of the stadium will have the ability to watch the jumbotron.
With the addition of chairback seating in part of the lower bowl and the jumbotron in the upper deck, the Vols surprisingly didn’t lose that much in terms of stadium capacity. Neyland Stadium’s capacity will reportedly decrease from 102,455 to 101,915 (a decrease of 540 seats) following these renovations, according to Mike Wilson of the Knoxville News Sentinel.
Even with the drop in capacity, the Vols still have the sixth-biggest stadium in college football, at least in terms of capacity (falling from fifth to sixth this year). At 101,915 beginning this fall, Tennessee is behind Michigan (107,601), Penn State (106,572), Ohio State (102,780), Texas A&M (102,733), and LSU (102,321) and just ahead of Alabama (101,821), Texas (100,119), Georgia (92,746), and UCLA (91,136), in terms of the 10 biggest stadiums in college football.
Along with the most glaring renovations that will be easy for fans to notice, the university has continued to renovate Neyland Stadium to try and keep it as up-to-date as possible. Here is everything the Vols have done to their football stadium since the renovation plan in 2017 (in which the price has increased from $180 million to $288 million), via Tennessee Athletics:
• Stadium Wi-Fi – build stadium-wide Wi-Fi network for improved fan wireless connectivity
• V-O-L-S letters – add two sets of letters to reintroduce a traditional stadium feature
• Founders Suites – add spacious and elegant private suites and lounge
• Restrooms under Gate 10 ramp – provide restrooms for highly trafficked entrance and hospitality area
• Upper north plaza area activation – add food and beverage services and new tiered seating
• Lower west premium club – add a 12,000 sq/ft indoor club space under the new chairback seating deck
• Skybox renovations – update skyboxes, including common spaces, and add operable windows
• Southwest and southeast entries - expand plaza entries and extend exterior concourse zones
• Brick cladding for vomitories and Gate 11 ramp – create a cohesive architectural style
Retained Phase I Scope:
• South concourse 1 expansion (including new and additional bathrooms and concessions)• Kitchen, commissary and loading dock
• South concourse 2 chairback seats• LED ribbon board replacement• New state-of-the-art sound system• North videoboard and plaza area• West lower bowl chairback seating
Removed/Held Phase I Scope for Future Evaluation/Phases:
• South concourse 3 expansion• New vertical center ramp (remove ramps at Gates 10 and 11)
• Southwest and southeast prominent gate structures• Outdoor patio and social gathering areas in southwest locations• Checkerboard Lounge and media relocation
Construction crews began these renovations just days after the Vols’ final home game of the season last November. Due to that, all of these renovations are expected to be completed for the upcoming season. The Vols will debut their new-look stadium on September 1 — a primetime Thursday night kickoff — when Tennessee hosts Ball State to begin the 2022 college football season.