~ from UTAD
To align with state and local social-distancing guidelines for public gatherings, Tennessee Athletics has finalized its adjusted seating model for the 2020 football season at Neyland Stadium. Pending the status of the current pandemic, our hope is that this plan is only required for one season and that Neyland Stadium can return to its traditional seating model in 2021.
At the first home game of the 2020 season—Saturday, Oct. 3—gameday seating at Neyland Stadium will be approximately 25 percent of the venue’s full capacity. Capacity restrictions could change as the season progresses, based on statewide virus data and evolving recommendations of public health officials. Fans statewide are encouraged to do their part by wearing masks in public and practicing healthy habits.
“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. “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.”
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. With the Vols scheduled to host five SEC opponents for the first time since 1959, 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. Students can request tickets—which will be issued on a game-by-game basis—via BigOrangeTix.UTK.edu starting on Sept. 23 for the first home game.
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. If no response is received by the deadline, the tickets will automatically be accepted and charges will be processed. Please note that the deadline to respond will be 48 hours from when the email offer is sent. This group email process could take up to three weeks 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 ticket payment and donation to the Tennessee Fund as a tax-deductible contribution, 2) have their 2020 ticket payment and donation carry over for the 2021 football season, or 3) receive a refund for the price of their tickets and donation.
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—who will continue their academic pursuits in 2020-21 even if their sports’ seasons are canceled or shortened—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 tickets offers are provided to all active Tennessee Fund donors or 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 active Tennessee Fund donors will then be offered to season-ticket holders who are not active donors.
Regardless of their decision to opt in or out for this fall, everyone who purchased 2020 football season-tickets will retain their status as a season-ticket holder along with their seats of choice when the 2021 renewal process begins.
Tennessee Fund members giving at the Bronze Victor level and above are capped at eight tickets per game or their previous quantity of tickets held (whichever is fewer). Members giving at the Mountaineer Level and above are capped at four tickets per game or their previous quantity of tickets held (whichever is fewer). These ticket caps enable a minimum of 5,400 tickets per game for distribution to additional donors, increasing attendance opportunities for more households of Tennessee fans.
“We appreciate so much the many generous donors with high levels of historic giving who have been understanding and accepting of these one-year caps,” Fulmer said. “Those limits create thousands of opportunities for additional loyal fans to experience gameday with us at Neyland Stadium.”
For all tickets purchased on the secondary marketplace (tickets not purchased directly from Tennessee Athletics), Tennessee Athletics cannot guarantee that they will be socially distanced. Fans who purchase tickets on the secondary market may find themselves seated directly next to a stranger.
“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. “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.”
- Regardless of whether or not they attend games this fall, everyone who purchased 2020 football season tickets will retain their status as a season-ticket holder along with their renewed seats (seats of 2020 intent) when the 2021 renewal process begins.
- Capacity restrictions in place at the start of the football season could change as the season progresses. This emphasizes the importance of statewide behavior to combat the spread of COVID-19. Practicing healthy habits and adhering to CDC guidance could lead to opportunities for larger gameday crowds at Neyland Stadium.
- Tennessee has outlined detailed guidelines for fan health and safety at Neyland Stadium this season. Those guidelines, which align with previously announced SEC guidelines, can be accessed HERE.
- As soon as possible, fans who previously purchased 2020 Tennessee football 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.
- 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 will be different than their original seats of intent.
- Tennessee does not anticipate offering any single-game tickets this fall unless tickets allocated to the visiting team are returned.
- Tennessee Athletics cannot guarantee that tickets purchased on the secondary market will be for seats that are socially distanced from strangers.