To align with state and local social-distancing guidelines for public gatherings, Tennessee Athletics has finalized its adjusted seating model for the 2020-21 basketball season at Thompson-Boling Arena. Pending the status of the pandemic, our hope is that this plan is only required for one season and that Thompson-Boling Arena can return to its traditional seating model next year.
While an exact figure is dependent on the final configuration of patron seating pods, Thompson-Boling Arena’s gameday capacity this season will be approximately 4,000 – or close to 18 percent.
This aligns with Southeastern Conference indoor event recommendations, which call for at least six feet of physical distance between groups as well as a 12-foot buffer zone encircling essential personnel located in and around the playing floor.
“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.”
Face coverings (over the nose and mouth) will be required for all fans and gameday staff and must remain in place at all times unless actively eating or drinking.
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.
Tickets for both Vols and Lady Vols basketball will be offered as season tickets, with priority based on Tennessee Fund annual gift amount and rank order.
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.
Sections 128-130 will be designated for UT student seating for men’s games, and students will occupy section 129 for women’s games, with the UTK Office of Student Life overseeing ticket allocation and physical distancing measures in those areas. Students can request single-game tickets via BigOrangeTix.edu.
Last month, basketball ticket holders were given the opportunity to opt in or out for the 2020-21 season. Those who indicated a preference to attend will be segmented according to their Tennessee Fund annual gift amount and rank order. Starting Tuesday, Nov. 10, donors in descending segments/groups will receive an email from VolsTix@utk.edu offering tickets in a specific location (likely different than their seats of original intent) and a deadline by which they must accept or decline the ticket offer. If no response is received by the deadline, the tickets will automatically be declined. Please note that the deadline to respond will be 24 hours from when the email offer is sent (if inventory remains). Donors who purchased tickets for both men’s and women’s basketball will receive two separate emails. This group email process could take up to a week to complete but could conclude sooner. All donors and ticket holders are encouraged to ensure that VolsTix@utk.edu is an approved sender to avoid having the ticket offer email directed to a junk or spam folder.
Those who decline tickets will receive an email outlining options on how to manage the ticket and donation funds associated with their account. They will have the option to 1) donate their 2020-21 ticket payment and donation to the Tennessee Fund as a tax-deductible contribution, 2) have their 2020-21 ticket payment and donation carry over for the 2021-22 basketball season, or 3) receive a refund for the price of their tickets and donation, if applicable.
Details about the Student-Athlete Volunteer Excellence (S.A.V.E.) Fund will be included in that email. Gifts supporting the S.A.V.E. Fund provide critical resources necessary to deliver a world-class experience to Tennessee’s more than 600 student-athletes while impacting the long-term success of UT’s comprehensive athletics program.
After each donor segment’s deadline passes, tickets will be offered and assigned to the next segment of donors. This process will continue until ticket offers are provided to all season-ticket holders or until the adjusted capacity is reached. As donors decline tickets throughout that process, ticket-offer opportunities extend to more individuals. Any ticket inventory that remains after offers have been extended to all season-ticket holders will be sold on a single-game basis as inventory allows.
Regardless of whether or not they attend games this season, everyone who purchased 2020-21 basketball season tickets will retain their status as a season-ticket holder along with their renewed seats (seats of 2020-21 intent) when the 2021-22 renewal process begins.
Tennessee has outlined detailed guidelines for fan health and safety at Thompson-Boling Arena this season. Those guidelines, which align with previously announced SEC guidelines, can be accessed HERE.
As soon as possible, fans who previously purchased 2020-21 Tennessee basketball tickets should ensure that VolsTix@utk.edu is recognized by their email client as a “safe sender” so that time-sensitive ticket-offer emails are not directed to a junk or spam folder.
Ticket holders who receive a ticket-offer email have 24 hours to respond or their tickets will be declined.
Fans who receive ticket-offer emails from VolsTix@utk.edu should be sure 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.