Knoxville’s Thompson-Boling Assembly Center and Arena is the home base of the University of Tennessee Volunteers men’s and women’s basketball teams. First used during the 1987-88 season, the facility is one of the nation’s largest on-campus basketball arenas. Only Carrier Dome at Syracuse can seat more fans. The arena is named for Knoxville businessman B. Ray Thompson and former UT President Dr. Edward J. Boling.
The Vols and Lady Vols basketball teams both perform quite well during basketball season, making Thompson-Boling a consistently well attended sporting arena. The facility officially seats 24,545 (18,000 chair seats and almost 7000 bleacher seats). However, crowds have swelled to as many as an SEC regular-season record setting crowd of 25,610 for Tennessee’s 1989 skirmish with the Kentucky Wildcats. The Lady Vols themselves drew a crowd of 24,653 for their 2006 game against Connecticut, a women’s collegiate basketball attendance record.
Thompson-Boling hosted the NCAA Tournament’s South Regional Finals in both 1994 and 1999. It also hosted the 1990 NCAA Southeast Region’s first and second round games, as well as the NCAA Women’s Final Four.
In addition to college basketball, the site also holds conventions, concerts, and other sporting events, including the 1996 Coca-Cola National Gymnastics Championships and NBA exhibition games (the Celtics-Bullets matchup in 1988 brought a then-record NBA exhibition crown of 23,611 to Knoxville). Thompson-Boling has also hosted WWE wrestling events, mixed martial arts competitions and the Harlem Globetrotters. Many musical artists have played the venue, including Dave Matthews Band, Hannah Montana, Phish, Aerosmith, Kanye West and Keith Urban.
In March 2007 construction began on a $20 million renovation, the first major construction on Thompson-Boling since it was originally built. Phase I of the project included new seats for the arena, a center hung state-of-the-art scoreboard integrating video, scoring and advertising, loge seating and luxury suites adjoining large kitchens and seating areas. Phase II, which began following the 2007-2008 season, included new lighting, ceiling panel replacements, new ticket kiosks and additional concession areas.
Thompson-Boling Arena is located at 1600 Phillip Fulmer Way. It is situated on the east side of the University of Tennessee campus, just south of Neyland Stadium and only a stone’s throw from the Tennessee River. Ticket offices are located on the west end of the building.
Visit www.utsports.com for basketball schedules, ticket information, parking information and more about University of Tennessee sports.