Thompson-Boling Arena will look different this season.
Tennessee Athletics has finalized an adjusted seating model for the 2020-21 basketball season, which will include a maximum capacity of approximately 4,000 fans. The 18 percent capacity will be in place for both the Vols and Lady Vols, according to a press release posted on Thursday morning.
There will be a 12-foot buffer zone between the playing floor and the stands, as well as six feet in between groups of fans. Tennessee students will be placed in sections 128, 129 and 130. The students and suites will each count toward the capacity of 4,000.
“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 in the press release. “There is 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.”
Season-ticket holders were given the option to opt in or out for the upcoming season in October. The ones who chose to opt in will be segmented according to their Tennessee Fund annual gift amount and rank order.
Donors will receive an email starting on Nov. 10 offering tickets in a specific location. They must respond within 24 hours, otherwise the tickets will be offered to the next segment of donors.
The SEC is calling for six feet of physical distance between groups and a 12-foot buffer zone encircling essential personnel in and around the court.
“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,” the press release said.
Tennessee is expected to host several non-conference games in November and December, along with nine SEC games and a contest against Kansas. The Lady Vols will play eight SEC games, host a showdown against Connecticut and play several non-conference affairs.