Facilities

Thompson-Boling Arena

Thompson-Boling Arena

The third-largest on-campus basketball arena in the country, Thompson-Boling Assembly Center and Arena is one of the nation's biggest and brightest stages for college basketball.

What's on this page?

  1. History
  2. Basketball Time in Tennessee
  3. Men's Attendance Record
  4. Women's Attendance Records
  5. Directions
  6. Venue Entry Gates and Seating

Thompson-Boling Arena Information

  • Address:
    1600 Phillip Fulmer Way, Suite 201
    Knoxville, TN, 37996
  • Capacity:
    21,678
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History

Named for the late B. Ray Thompson and former UT President Dr. Edward J. Boling, Thompson-Boling Arena regularly hosts Tennessee men's and women's basketball and volleyball matches as well as concerts, camps, conferences and other special events throughout the year.

Ticket facilities are conveniently located on the Phillip Fulmer Way level on the west end of the building. The Tennessee men's basketball staff, along with the women's hoops staff, occupy offices in the arena on the Phillip Fulmer Way level. The arena's dining center, also located on Phillip Fulmer Way and highlighted by a McAlister's Deli, opened in 1989. It operates on a daily basis, catering to the university's athletic and administrative staff.

Entrances to the building are located on the east and west ends, with protection from the elements provided by tucking the doors under the structure. There are a total of 132 entrance doors to the arena.

A continuous-ring concourse encircles the building permitting entrance to eight large restrooms, six concession areas and 32 portals leading to the arena. The playing floor level provides access to team dressing rooms, press work areas and storage rooms.

The distance from the playing floor to the roof is 120 feet, the equivalent of a 12-story building. The arena is 448 feet long and 310 feet wide. It contains more than 411,000 square feet of floor space and more than 17 million cubic feet of space. The structure's roof measures 142,000 square feet, which is approximately three-and-one-quarter acres. In the fall of 2008, the University of Tennessee Athletics Department unveiled Phase I of a two-phase renovation project for Thompson-Boling Assembly Center and Arena.

The $35 million project marked the first major renovation to Thompson-Boling Arena since it opened in 1987. In that time, more than 13 million patrons have attended thousands of arena events, including basketball games, concerts, UT and high school graduations and other special events.

Thompson-Boling Arena

Phase I renovations to Thompson-Boling Arena added loge seating and 32 luxury suites on the arena's north side, which were a primary funding source for the project. Visit the Tennessee Fund homepage for information on luxury seating options.

Phase I included new seats for the entire arena, a center-hung scoreboard and concourse refurbishments, such as graphics and other amenities.

Phase I also included new luxury suites and loge seating, which were a primary funding source for much of the renovations. The 32 luxury suites are located in the north balcony of Thompson-Boling Arena. The loge area features 166 side court seats, located directly below the luxury suites and includes private adjoining hospitality areas.

Phase II also included the construction of a bridge connecting the G-10 parking garage to the arena at concourse level, and a 360-degree LED ribbon board located between the upper and lower decks also was added.

Finally, the installation of state-of-the-art LED light fixtures-first put to use in February 2014-Thompson-Boling Arena became one of the first venues in the world to feature lights that are smaller, brighter, and up to 85 percent more efficient than conventional arena metal halide lights.

The light-emitting diode fixtures use an ORNL-developed lightweight graphite foam that cools the LED, making them more efficient and reliable. This enables ninety 400-watt LED fixtures to bathe the arena's floor with 200 foot-candles per square foot, compared to the 130 foot-candles produced by the arena's 110 old 1,100-watt fixtures.

Funding for the Thompson-Boling Arena renovations projects came from donors to the Campaign for Tennessee Basketball and revenue from new premium seating areas such as the north luxury suites and loge seats. The aforementioned capital projects bolstered Thompson-Boling Arena's reputation as one of the nation's premier basketball facilities.

Only Syracuse's Carrier Dome, which also is utilized for football, and UNC's Dean Smith Center can seat more on-campus basketball fans.

Basketball Time in Tennessee

Thompson-Boling Arena opened during the 1987-88 season, with the Tennessee men's basketball team defeating Marquette 82-56 before a crowd of 25,272.

In the venue's opening season, the Volunteers finished third nationally with an average attendance of more than 20,000 fans per game.

And since that debut season, a majority of the facility's storied history has centered around men's and women's basketball. In the last two and a half decades, the Vols and Lady Vols have hosted record college basketball crowds, as well as WNBA and NCAA Tournament basketball games.

The 1989 Men's SEC Tournament was the first of what promised to be many postseason tournaments to be held in Thompson-Boling Arena. The riverfront arena has drawn rave reviews from teams, administrators and media for its modern facilities, which are necessary for hosting major tournaments.

The men's 1990 NCAA Southeast Region first- and second-round games, followed by the 1990 NCAA Women's Final Four, made Knoxville a basketball hotspot. Thompson-Boling Arena later hosted the men's NCAA Tournament South Regional Finals in 1999 and 1994.

On the basketball front, Thompson-Boling Arena has been filled for more than just collegiate games. The Celtics-Bullets game in 1988 attracted a then-record NBA exhibition record crowd of 23,611.

Men's Attendance Records

Vols Largest Home Crowds

RANK CROWD OPPONENT RESULT SCORE DATE
1. 25,610 Kentucky L 65-66 1/21/89
2. 25,272 Marquette W 82-56 12/3/87
3. 25,125 Kentucky L 74-78 1/12/91
4. 24,433 Florida L 56-76 1/23/88
5. 24,378 Kentucky W 72-70 2/17/88
6. 24,108 Kentucky L 78-80 3/1/06
7. 24,047 Florida W 86-76 2/27/07
8. 24,011 Florida W 80-76 1/21/06
9. 23,969 ETSU L 79-87 11/25/91
10. 23,764 Vanderbilt W 80-72 1/9/88

In men's basketball, Tennessee has now ranked in the nation's top-20 in attendance for 13 consecutive years and 22 of the last 23. Additionally, the Vols have never fallen out of the nation's top 25 rankings in average attendance since the NCAA began archiving attendance data in 1976.

The arena's largest basketball crowd since its capacity dipped to 21,678 prior to the 2007-08 season came on Jan. 7, 2009, when the Tennessee men hosted Gonzaga in front of a sellout crowd of 22,326.

The Vols have drawn 50 home crowds of 20,000 or more since the start of the 2005-06 season. Thompson-Boling Arena has hosted ESPN College GameDay twice, with the Vols winning each time.

Women's Attendance Records

Lady Vols Largest Home Crowds

RANK CROWD OPPONENT RESULT SCORE DATE
1. 24,653 Connecticut W 89-80 1/7/06
2. 24,611 Connecticut L 72-86 1/05/02
3. 24,597 Connecticut W 84-69 1/03/98
4. 24,563 Texas L 78-97 12/09/87
5. 24,373 Old Dominion W 85-61 2/07/98
6. 24,251 Vanderbilt W 73-53 2/25/07
7. 24,051 Kentucky W 98-60 1/17/99
8. 24,046 Connecticut W 92-88 2/01/01
9. 23,385 Connecticut L 67-74 1/08/00
10. 22,694 Louisiana State W 90-58 2/22/98

In women's hoops, Tennessee has finished first or second nationally in average home attendance for 23 consecutive seasons (through the 2016-17 campaign), with the Lady Vols leading the nation 18 times since 1994-95.

On Dec. 9, 1987, the Lady Vols set a (then) world record with 24,563 showing up to see Tennessee battle Texas.

In 1998-99, the Lady Vols played before an average crowd of 16,565, the largest average home crowd in the history of women's collegiate basketball. In all, 231,915 fans viewed home games in Knoxville.

During the 1997-98 season, Tennessee set even more collegiate attendance records. On Jan. 3, 1998, the Lady Vols entertained a new women's collegiate record 24,597 fans for their game against Connecticut. A month later, the first advance sell-out in UT Women's Athletics history occurred for the Old Dominion game in Knoxville, which 24,373 fans attended.

Tennessee again broke the all-time attendance mark during the 2001-02 season when 24,611 fans visited the arena for a No. 1-No. 2 matchup against Connecticut. It was set again in 2006 when the Huskies came to Knoxville in front of 24,653 spectators.

The women's basketball attendance mark was established at the NCAA Final Four when 29,619 people filled the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas, for the semifinals and finals.

Infrastructure

Ticket facilities are conveniently located on the Phillip Fulmer Way level on the west end of the building. The Tennessee men's basketball staff, along with the women's hoops staff, occupy offices in the arena on the Phillip Fulmer Way level.

Thompson-Boling Arena

Thompson-Boling Arena shown during the 'Live Pink, Bleed Orange' game in 2010 to raise money for breast cancer research and treatment.

The arena's dining center, also located on Phillip Fulmer Way and highlighted by a McAlister's Deli, opened in 1989. It operates on a daily basis, catering to the university's athletic and administrative staff.

Entrances to the building are located on the east and west ends, with protection from the elements provided by tucking the doors under the structure. There are a total of 132 entrance doors to the arena.

A continuous-ring concourse encircles the building permitting entrance to eight large restrooms, six concession areas and 32 portals leading to the arena. The playing floor level provides access to team dressing rooms, press work areas and storage rooms.

The distance from the playing floor to the roof is 120 feet, the equivalent of a 12-story building. The arena is 448 feet long and 310 feet wide. It contains more than 411,000 square feet of floor space and more than 17 million cubic feet of space. The structure's roof measures 142,000 square feet, which is approximately three-and-one-quarter acres.

Directions

From McGhee Tyson Airport: Turn north on U.S. Highway 129 leaving airport. After crossing the Tennessee River bridge just outside of Knoxville, exit onto Neyland Drive (Tennessee Highway 153). Turn left (south) at the bottom of the exit ramp and follow road until Thompson-Boling Arena is visible. Turn left onto Lake Loudoun Boulevard. Turn right at stoplight. Follow Phillip Fulmer Way to parking garage.

From I-40 east (from Nashville) and I-75 north (from Chattanooga): Follow I-40 and I-75 to I-40/I-75 junction in west Knoxville. Continue on I-40 east to U.S. Highway 129 south. Follow 129 south to the exit for Neyland Drive (Tennessee Highway 153). Turn left (south) at the bottom of the exit ramp and follow the road until Thompson-Boling Arena is visible. Turn left onto Lake Loudoun Boulevard. Turn right at stoplight. Follow Phillip Fulmer Way to parking garage.

From I-40 west (from Asheville, N.C.): Follow I-40 west to the James White Parkway exit and exit to the left. Follow Parkway to Neyland Drive (Tennessee Highway 153) until Thompson-Boling Arena is visible. Turn right onto Lake Loudoun Boulevard. Turn right at stoplight. Follow Phillip Fulmer Way to parking garage.

From I-75 south (from Lexington, Ky.): Follow I-75 south to I-275 south just past Merchants Road. Follow I-275 to I-40 east. Exit I-40 east onto James White Parkway and follow Parkway to Neyland Drive (Tennessee Highway 153) until Thompson-Boling Arena is visible. Turn right onto Lake Loudoun Boulevard. Turn right at stoplight. Follow Phillip Fulmer Way to parking garage.

Campus Maps

Venue Entry Gates and Seating

All facilities and facilities projects at the University of Tennessee are supported by donations to the Tennessee Fund and season tickets.

For more information on how you can help support Tennessee Athletics, visit the Tennessee Fund homepage for more information.

 

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