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Behind The Scenes Details Of Neyland Stadium Renovation

Neyland Stadium is set to undergo a major renovation to give the cathedral a face-lift. Today, we were able to uncover some notes from the July 2017 proposal and series of meetings that talked about the current state of Neyland Stadium as well as plans for the future. These notes were pulled directly from the university’s scope of work request sent to contractors and vendors this week for bidding purposes.

We’ve all heard of some of the proposed renovations, but this is the first time we have been able to view actual details from the meetings. These notes display the university’s thought processes behind the proposed renovations.

Recruiting: 

Tennessee wants to stop renting gear to impress recruits and wants to just go ahead and purchase and permanently install their own:

  • LED or ceiling mounted, roll down projection screen for recruiting presentations.
  • DJ podium.
  • Small club style audio system, capable of high sound levels with subwoofers.
  • Control system for the video and audio equipment.

Makes sense to me. You gotta have a DJ to play your tunes and then you have to have a good audio system to then dance. You’ve seen Nick Saban go into homes and do the Cupid Shuffle with recruits’ parents. Well, we’re about to bring the damn dance party into Neyland Stadium.

Fan Zone and South Field Membership Club

Here, Tennessee outlines that they will be removing seven total rows and approximately 730 seats. The plan is to put a glass wall between the field and the club. Here, John Currie wanted his team to call Mississippi State to see how they handle their on-field club and whether or not they had problems with people spilling drinks and food onto the club patrons.

Nothing new here. We knew that this was coming, but I wasn’t sure if we had an exact number of seats and rows that would be sacrificed here. Plus the idea of the powers that be worrying about getting food and drinks spilled on them was too funny to not include. 

Alcohol

  • “The UT campus is currently a ‘dry’ campus but the expectation is for this to change over the next several years.”
  • Microbreweries were discussed as well as making sure that concession stands would have adequate space to store kegs.
  • Prefers serving beer in cans over bottles and drafts.
  • For liquor, an “easy” solution is to serve “slushy drinks like margaritas, etc.”

THAT’S RIGHT, BABY! The days of having to sneak in your own liquor should be coming to an end in “the next several years,” however long that is. I am here for the pending outrage of Neyland Stadium FINALLY selling liquor in the stadium only to have that liquor be “slushy drinks” instead of a Jack and Coke. I am already fuming while also trying to google local places in Knoxville that serve slushy margaritas so that I can go ahead and acquire the taste. 

Concessions

The goal is to have one concession stand for every 250 people and have all of those stands be able to accept credit cards. Tennessee employees and fans alike were very impressed with their trip to College Station and how their concession stands operated.

Concession improvements and concerns:

  • Healthier options are not preferred by fans, per sales.
  • Soda dispensing machine for patrons to get their own refills.
  • Pretzels are made off site and then warmed at the concessions.
  • Millennials enjoy hot and cold coffee drinks and coffee makers should start accommodating for that.
  • Tennessee is worried about alcohol sales because most of their concession stands are manned by underage charity volunteers.
  • Remote ordering for customers on their phone

Have you ever sat in Neyland Stadium? Of course healthier options are not preferred. Soda dispensing machines seem like it will really help with the mixing of smuggled in liquor. Seriously, a big topic during this meeting was “How are pretzels produced?” Tennessee is worried about alcohol sales because most of their concession stands are manned by underage charity volunteers. Is that ironic? Or is it typical Tennessee to weigh profits from alcohol vs having to pay people to “man the concession stands.”

The Jumbotron

Ah, yes. The Jumbotron. Obviously, people have been talking about the Jumbotron since Butch Jones was fired. Some thoughts from the meeting:

  • The University is not happy with the image quality of the back-lit sign and would prefer something better and easier to change out.
  • Renovation should incorporate tradition of ‘Home of the VOLS’ located on back of video board. Traditional images and phrases are important should be incorporated where possible.
  • “Generational” fans would recognize and appreciate Tennessee bringing back the “VOLS” letters that have been chilling in storage. Location would be somewhere with fan congregation that would also look good on TV.
  • “Limitless opportunities for naming rights and activation” for digital boards.

Uhhhh, ya think? Obviously the back of the current jumbotron is a hassle to mess with. Seems as if the new LED boards that Tennessee is eyeing will make all of that easier. This section is promising. Tradition! VOLS letters coming back at least in some respect! Imagine all of the profile pics on Facebook and AVIs on Twitter. Ah, dammit. There’s the money thing again with naming rights opportunities. 

One quote from the report that stuck out

“John is excited about the new image of the stadium. He stated that football and engineering are what Tennessee are known for. Southeast view of the stadium envisioned to represent the best of Tennessee.”

Ouch. 

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