The University of Tennessee’s board of trustees has approved a request from its athletics department to increase the budget for the first phase of a renovation project at Neyland Stadium.
The budget for the revamp of the stadium has been increased by $49m (£39m/€45m) to $337m. It comes after the board of trustees last year approved a request to increase the Phase 1 budget to $288m.
The latest Phase 1 budget of $337m brings the project in line with the $340m estimated total budget price when the plans were initially approved in 2017. Neyland Stadium is the eighth-largest stadium in the world with a capacity of 102,000, but progress on the renovation project has stalled in recent years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a statement released following the latest approval, Tennessee Athletics said the project aligns with its goals of modernising the fan and visitor experience through enhanced amenities and diversified seating options, improving fan safety and security, and aligning stadium features and aesthetics with campus architectural standards.
Last autumn, guests at Neyland Stadium were able to sample a new videoboard in the stadium’s north upper deck, along with enhanced video components in the existing south videoboard and the introduction of two new premium amenities in the lower-west club and upper-north social deck.
Future updates will include the widening of concourses, construction of expanded gates and entryways, and additional restrooms and concession areas. The project will be carried out in phases each season until the autumn of 2026.
Later this year, the south stadium hall will be removed, with the south end of the venue to be structurally strengthened. Next year, stadium-wide Wi-Fi connectivity will be rolled out, while renovations and upgrades will be completed for all skyboxes.
In 2025, the south concourse will be expanded, with founders suites to also be completed. In 2026, entry plazas will be completed.
In May, Tennessee Athletics detailed separate plans to explore the development of an entertainment district that would span the Tennessee River waterfront near Neyland Stadium.
The mixed-use district would seek to enhance the game-day experience for Volunteers fans, while transforming the riverfront and supplementing the city of Knoxville’s gathering centres with a leisure and entertainment hub.
In other news, Tennessee Athletics is set to move forward with plans to renovate Lindsey Nelson Stadium, home of its baseball team.
Work is set to commence in August, with the project to increase the stadium’s seated capacity to approximately 7,600 fans. The project budget totals $95.8m.