Tennessee officially announced on Tuesday that it would be hosting a Neyland Stadium capacity of 25% on Oct. 3 in the Vols home-opener against Missouri.
“I can’t overstate how much I empathize with the thousands of fans who won’t get to experience gameday in Neyland Stadium this fall,” Tennessee Director of Athletics Phillip Fulmer said in a press released. “These circumstances are beyond our control, and we understand the importance of playing our part to keep our community healthy. For those who will be with us in the stadium this season, please know that we are committed to creating the safest possible environment in and around Neyland Stadium.”
Capacity restrictions could change as the season progresses, based on statewide virus data and evolving recommendations of public health officials, the press release states. It also encouraged fans to do their part by wearing masks in public and practicing healthy habits.
The move to a reduced capacity has been expected for months now. It has been unclear, however, how Tennessee will distribute tickets to make up the 25%, until now.
Current UT students and active Tennessee Fund donors with season tickets will receive priority on 2020 football tickets. Tickets will be offered as season tickets based on Tennessee Fund annual gift amount and rank order. The original season-ticket price has not changed.
Student seating sections remain the same as in past seasons (sections D-K). New, socially distanced student-seating guidelines (including capacity in those sections) will be determined by the UTK Office of Student Life.
Ticket holders with seats in premium areas of Neyland Stadium will be notified of capacity reductions in those locations. Ticket holders with seats unable to be used in premium areas have been relocated to the main stadium bowl, leading to a domino-effect restructuring in the bowl area.
All ticket locations in the new, adjusted seating model are assigned by the Tennessee Fund according to mandated guidelines for social distancing. Once seating in premium areas has been assigned, donors will be segmented according to their Tennessee Fund annual gift amount and rank order. Starting Thursday, donors in descending segments/groups will receive an email from VolsTix@utk.edu offering tickets in a specific location and a deadline by which they must accept or decline the ticket offer.
“Fans attending games this season are going to have to relearn much of the Tennessee gameday experience,” Associate Athletics Director for Fan Experience & Sales Jimmy Delaney said in the press release. “Education prior to arrival is key to ensuring that fans have a smooth experience once they get to campus. In the weeks to come, we’ll be sharing important messaging with ticket holders about mobile ticketing, stadium entry procedures, changes in and around the venue and much more.”
Tennessee is scheduled to begin its season a week prior to the home-opener against Missouri with a trip to Columbia, South Carolina to take on the Gamecocks on Sept. 26.