Tennessee Announces Plans For 'First-In-Class Entertainment District'

By Jason Hall

May 17, 2023

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 29 Kentucky at Tennessee
Photo: Getty Images

The University of Tennessee's athletic department announced plans for "a first-in-class entertainment district spanning the Tennessee River waterfront" connecting Neyland Stadium and Thompson Boling Arena in a news release shared on Wednesday (May 17).

The Neyland Entertainment District aims to transform the campus riverfront and provide "another attractive leisure and entertainment hub," which includes "a boutique, full-service hotel with for-sale condominiums and conference/event space."

"Innovation is at the forefront of everything we do," said UT athletic director Danny White. "The ideation of this new Neyland Entertainment District exemplifies that mindset. This is a massive project that has the potential to positively impact our entire city. We're eager to see what world-class developers dream up to creatively maximize this extraordinary market opportunity. We have the capacity for constructing an entertainment ecosystem that doesn't presently exist anywhere across the collegiate landscape.

"This is far greater than an activation on seven or eight days a year. This is a year-round destination that not only enhances our gamedays but also elevates the everyday academic experience of our entire student body and campus community year-round."

The University of Tennessee has already issued a formal Request for Information (RFI) in an effort to gauge input and interest from developers, with program management firm Brailsford & Dunlavey reported to be a guiding partner in the exploratory phase of the Neyland Entertainment District plans.

Tennessee is coming off its best football season in decades, finishing the 2022 campaign ranked No. 6 overall with an 11-2 (6-2 SEC record), which included its first win against Alabama during the Nick Saban era and first win against Florida since 2016. Tennessee Athletics also had the highest combined winning percentage (.672%) in all sports among all SEC schools during the 2021-22 academic year.

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