Thompson-Boling Arena is getting a new name — kind of. The University of Tennessee has sold the naming rights to the facility to Food City in a deal worth more than $20 million. Per ESPN’s Pete Thamel, the deal is for ten years.
Sources: Tennessee has agreed to a 10-year naming rights deal with Food City for the school's basketball arena. The deal is for more than $20 million over the next 10 years.— Pete Thamel (@PeteThamel) August 23, 2023
Tennessee confirmed the news on Wednesday morning.
“We are thrilled to partner with Food City on this transformative naming rights opportunity, the first of its kind for Tennessee Athletics,” said White, via release. “Food City is a neighborhood partner who knows our state and region extremely well and has been a key partner for Tennessee Athletics for nearly 30 years. Food City is a valued member of our community and bleeds orange, and we look forward to taking this partnership to another level. I want to thank the Smith family, as well as the Food City team for this long-term partnership.”
Officially, the new name will be Thompson-Boling Arena at Food City Center.
Tennessee will use the deal to fund various upgrades to the facility. The University listed new club amenities, updates to the Ray Mears Room and a state-of-the-art center-hung video board in their initial plans. The exterior of the facility will also be “modernized,” per the announcement. The outside of the arena certainly needs work, and that will be a welcomed upgrade to pair with Tennessee’s planned Neyland entertainment district.
“I’ve long said that Thompson-Boling Arena gives us an elite homecourt advantage, and Food City clearly recognizes that,” men’s basketball coach Rick Barnes said. “This is an extraordinary commitment by a wonderful partner that will not just elevate Tennessee gamedays, but it’s an investment that will also enhance the student-athlete experience across all our sports. We appreciate Food City for stepping up and supporting Tennessee Athletics in a way that is truly transformational.”