Tennessee Exploring First Of Its Kind Entertainment District Around Neyland Stadium, With Hotel, Restaurants, Retail Shops

The University of Tennessee is thinking big when it comes to the future of college sports. The school announced on Wednesday that it is exploring plans to build an entertainment district around Neyland Stadium and Thompson-Boiling Arena.

So what is Tennessee actually thinking about when it comes to this idea? The school is looking at building a 12-story boutique hotel that overlooks Neyland Stadium. In addition to the hotel, the school wants to build an entertainment district, filled with restaurants and retail shops.

If you have ever been to The Battery in Atlanta, this is what Tennessee is aiming for, along with Wrigleyville in Chicago. There are a number of different routes the school could go as they open up the process for potential builders.

Tennessee Building Towards The Future, Not Only In Football

If Tennessee can pull this off, it will set a new standard for entertainment around college athletics.

"Innovation is at the forefront of everything we do," AD Danny White said. "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."

Not only would this benefit football crowds, but it's also important for the months of December through May. An attraction like this would be massive for sports like college basketball and baseball. Having sixteen home basketball games in a regular season, these attractions could payoff more for the school once football season ends. Don't forget baseball, which usually has somewhere around 43 home games per season.

Iowa State also started a study last year for a similar entertainment type district near its football stadium.

The location of this potential new venture for Tennessee would likely bring in millions of dollars outside of football season, which is another reason why this is such a smart idea.

Obviously the school has massive plans for the future, which includes further renovations to Neyland Stadium and the Vols basketball arena.

"This project has the potential to create a year-round destination that engages the Tennessee River waterfront and enhances the campus and our community," Tennessee Chancellor Donde Plowman noted.

This sounds ambitious, but if they pull it off, it could change the game for college campuses moving forward.

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Trey Wallace is the host of The Trey Wallace Podcast that focuses on a mixture of sports, culture, entertainment along with his perspective on everything from College Football to the College World Series. Wallace has been covering college sports for 15 years, starting off while attending the University of South Alabama. He’s broken some of the biggest college stories including the Florida football "Credit Card Scandal" along with the firing of Jim McElwin and Kevin Sumlin. Wallace also broke one of the biggest stories in college football in 2020 around the NCAA investigation into recruiting violations against Tennessee football head coach Jeremy Pruitt. Wallace also appears on radio across seven different states breaking down that latest news in college sports.