KNOXVILLE — Basketball season has arrived at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and fans will finally get to see the renovations at Thompson-Boling Arena.
The university also reminds fans of several security measures in place and a new ticketing procedure.
The Volunteers and the defending national champion Lady Vols open their season this week.
The men host the California University of Pennsylvania for an exhibition game at 7:30 p.m. on Friday.
The women host the USA Senior National Team for an exhibition at 3 p.m. on Sunday.
The biggest changes fans will see are black seats replacing orange ones, a huge state-of-the art scoreboard hung above the court and 32 new luxury suites and 166 new loge seats on one side of the upper deck. The concrete wall surfaces around the seating area that were painted white are now orange.
There also are improvements around the concourse, and more load-bearing capacity was added to the arena roof structure to accommodate heavier, modern touring production equipment. The ceiling tiles were painted black.
These are the first major renovations at the arena since it opened in 1987.
The new Pratt Pavilion indoor basketball practice facility next to the arena is nearly complete. The building, now occupying the former parking lot beside the arena, has two gyms and space for sports medicine, strength training, film study and recruiting.
A new ticketing system was instituted for this season to protect fans if their tickets are lost or stolen and to discourage the use of counterfeit tickets. A bar code on tickets will be scanned when fans enter the arena. People with counterfeit tickets will not be admitted.
If tickets are lost or stolen, fans should contact the ticket office. The bar code will be deactivated, and a new ticket will be issued.
Many of the same security measures from last year remain in place:
• For men’s games, gates will open 90 minutes before tipoff.
• For women’s games, gates will open 60 minutes before tipoff.
• Students are required to enter the gates off the west ramp.
• Large bags, backpacks and other large parcels are not allowed.
• Artificial noisemakers are not allowed.
• Radios with headphones, other small electronic devices and diaper bags accompanying infants are permitted.
• All items are subject to search or inspection, and hand-held metal detectors may be used.
For parking, basketball fans with permits will be allowed to park in designated lots adjacent to the arena. Free parking and a shuttle are available at the UT Agriculture campus.
Tiffany Carpenter, UT athletics, (865) 974-1361, firstname.lastname@example.org
Elizabeth Davis, UT media relations, (865) 974-5179, email@example.com
Jeff Maples, senior associate vice chancellor for finance and administration, (865) 974-3061.