Tennessee announces plan for 25% Neyland Stadium capacity

Staff photo by C.B. Schmelter / Tennessee's "Pride of the Southland" marching band forms the giant "T" before the Volunteers take the field inside Neyland Stadium before their 2018 football matchup against SEC East rival Florida.

Tennessee announced Tuesday morning that Neyland Stadium would be at approximately 25% capacity for the Oct. 3 game against visiting Missouri, which represents the first of five home games in a 2020 football season that has been delayed and shortened due to continuing concerns over the coronavirus.

Current Tennessee students and active Tennessee Fund donors with season tickets will receive priority on 2020 tickets, according to a university release. Season tickets will be offered based on the Tennessee Fund annual gift amount and rank order.

"I can't overstate how much I empathize with the thousands of fans who won't get to experience game day in Neyland Stadium this fall," Volunteers athletic director 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."

With the Vols scheduled to host five Southeastern Conference opponents for the first time since 1959 - Missouri, Kentucky (Oct. 17), Alabama (Oct. 24), Texas A&M (Nov. 14) and Florida (Dec. 5) - the original season-ticket price has not changed.

Neyland Stadium has a capacity of 102,455, so a crowd at 25% capacity would be roughly 25,614. The Vols last experienced a season attendance of roughly 25,000 in 1955.

Tennessee announced that capacity restrictions could change as the season progresses "based on statewide virus data and evolving recommendations of public health officials."

Once seating in premium areas has been assigned, Vols donors will be bracketed according to their Tennessee Fund annual gift amount and rank order. Starting Thursday, donors in descending 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. The deadline to respond will be 48 hours from when the email offer is sent.

Tennessee announced that the 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.

Students can request tickets - which will be issued on a game-by-game basis - via BigOrangeTix.UTK.edu starting Sept. 23 for the first home game.

Contact David Paschall at dpaschall@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6524. Follow him on Twitter @DavidSPaschall.