As promised, Neyland Stadium’s latest renovations will keep the capacity at more than 100,000 for the 2022 season.
Neyland’s new capacity will be 101,915, a source from the University of Tennessee confirmed to GoVols247 on Thursday afternoon. Mike Wilson of The Knoxville News Sentinel first reported the news earlier in the afternoon.
Tennessee’s historic football cathedral – Vols’ home since 1921 – has had a six-figure capacity since 1995, and at times has been the largest stadium in the country. That is no longer the case, but it is still located near the top of the list, and every renovation since then has come with a promise to keep Tennessee’s historic home above the 100,000 threshold.
Neyland Stadium has had an official capacity of 102,455, where it had been since the Tennessee Terrace was added in 2010. The addition of East Club and West Club seats in 2006 and 2009 temporarily reduced the capacity to 100,011.
The peak of Neyland’s official capacity was reached in 2000, when the addition of East Executive Suites brought the official number to 104,037. That era included the largest official attendance in history, with 109,061 filling The General’s House for Tennessee’s thrilling 30-28 over SEC Eastern Division rival Florida.
However, an SEC arms race over facilities has remained ubiquitous, and Tennessee’s latest Neyland renovations began as soon as last season ended. A number of renovations were officially approved in 2017, and adjustments have been made throughout the process, including when Danny White took over the athletics director position in January 2021.
The current phase of the Neyland renovations has focused on the lower western level and the northern end zone of the riverside stadium. It includes a “premium experience” area on the lower west side of the stadium, directly behind the Tennessee bench. A long-awaited video board will also be added to the northern end zone of the stadium and there will be a new stand only section below it. This section with only standing places has been described as “party deck” with the feel of a sports bar.
UT’s current plan is that the revenue from the new west club and the northern end zone will fund the remaining upgrades of the stadium in the coming years. The current phase of the renovations has cost about $ 180 million for a project that is expected to cost about $ 340 million.
“By the time we’re done with this pretty massive renovation, we want to have one of, if not the best, stadiums in college football,” White told the Sports Business Journal earlier this year. “It means thinking proactively about the future and the modern fan experience. And in less exciting ways, it means fixing some things and renovating some things that are really outdated.”
Tennessee was unable to hold its annual Orange & White Game this spring due to construction in Neyland. The Vols considered playing their annual spring game in Nashville or Chattanooga, but ultimately chose to have one at their training complex – Anderson Training Center and Haslam Field.
A $ 30 million renovation of the Anderson Training Center has also begun, and the plan is to add more impressive new features to what was already considered one of the nation’s better training facilities. An additional 36,000 square feet of space and renovations to 100,000 square feet of existing space will increase the size of the center to approximately 181,000 square feet.