Know Before You Go 2022: 5 Tips For Visiting Thompson-Boling Arena

Posted on January 11, 2022 - Last Updated on January 13, 2022

In today’s pandemic-altered world, event requirements and protocol tend to shift with the seasons. The fluctuating COVID-19 policy at the University of Tennessee Knoxville’s Thompson-Boling Arena is no exception.

If you plan on visiting TBA for a UT Vols or Lady Vols basketball home game in 2022, here are the top 5 things to know before attending an event.

1) Parking at Thompson-Boling Arena

Finding parking for Thompson-Boling basketball games is a relatively easy task. The Neyland Parking Garage is located directly beside the arena and offers ample parking during general events.

All non-prepaid parking areas on campus such as this charge $10 cash to access. You’ll want to have cash on hand, as these parking locations do not accept card.

To simplify your trek, reference a map of available university parking before heading out.

This interactive map of UT campus is another helpful tool — especially if you plan on parking further away from the arena.

In addition to college basketball games, Thompson-Boling Arena has a number of high-profile musicians scheduled to appear this year including Reba McEntire, Korn and Elton John.  A handful of other athletic events, such as the Harlem Globetrotters and the Professional Bull Riders Knoxville Invitational, are also on the calendar.

Parking in downtown Knoxville is far less expensive than parking in Nashville or any other major city. But when popular events such as these take place, traffic can become particularly congested.

2) 2022 Thompson-Boling Arena COVID-19 policy

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve, so does arena protocol. This season, facial coverings are not required when entering the arena or while moving about inside. They are still highly encouraged, however.

In order to save entry time and reduce touch points, mobile ticketing is now the primary form of admission. Fans should use their phones to download their tickets prior to arriving.

To further reduce touch points, the arena does not accept cash. Concession stands accept only debit and credit cards as forms of payment.

Hand washing opportunities and hand-sanitizer stations are also regularly available.

3) UT Knoxville clear bag policy

Much like Neyland Stadium, TBA enforces a strict clear bag policy in order to strengthen the overall safety and security of its events.

Patrons are permitted to bring one clear, plastic bag no larger than 6-by-12-by-12 inches. If you don’t already have a clear bag for such events, a resealable, clear plastic storage bag of up to one gallon will always work in a pinch.

The arena does permit wallets and small clutch purses — so long as they measure less than 4.5-by-6.5 inches. Aside from that, medically necessary items are the only other exception.

Leave your smokes & recording equipment at home

In addition to the clear bag policy, there are a couple items the university would prefer not to see whatsoever.

UT Knoxville is a smoke-free campus, meaning you won’t find any designated smoking or vaping areas anywhere near the arena. In fact, the act is explicitly prohibited.

This rules even extends to your own private vehicle. That’s right — UT campus restricts all visitors from smoking in their car while it’s parked or being operated on university property.

You’ll also want to leave any professional audio and video equipment at home, though recording an athletic event with a non-professional camera is O.K. The use of flash photography, on the other hand, is never permitted.

For a complete list of prohibited items, take a look at the arena’s building policies.

4) Entering Thompson-Boling Arena

Upon entering TBA, you’ll be greeted by arena security and a row of walk-through metal detectors.

All items are all subject to search at the gate. If you happen to bring something that gets flagged during search, you’ll have to either make the trek back to your vehicle or throw it away. Storing an item at the gate isn’t an option.

The arena explicitly prohibits all knives and blades of any kind. If you arrive with a pocket knife, you can either return it to your vehicle or have security confiscate and dispose of it for you.

Patrons will be asked to place the contents of your pockets in a bin before walking through the metal detector. Items such as the following can remain on your person:

  • watch
  • jewelry
  • wallet
  • belt
  • jacket
  • shoes
  • coins

Once you’ve cleared this initial security check, you’re ready to scan your ticket and enter the arena.

It’s important to note that re-entry is not allowed. So if you need to leave for any reason after your ticket is scanned, make sure you’re ready to leave for good.

5) Buying alcohol inside TBA

You may want to go ahead and stock up on snacks and refreshments before getting comfy in your seat. And thanks to a relatively new change in rules, the arena’s available refreshments have now expanded to include beer.

In May 2019, the SEC lifted its ban on alcohol sales at sporting events, ultimately causing Tennessee to permit beer within select university-operated venues. But since UT Knoxville remains a dry campus otherwise, these new alcohol guidelines are somewhat strict.

Patrons can purchase beer at a number of concession stands and kiosks inside the arena but, he or she must present a valid photo ID to do so. Acceptable forms include:

  • driver’s license
  • military ID card
  • passport
  • government-issued photo ID card

TBA serves all beer in a clear, plastic cup and limits sales to two alcoholic beverages per transaction. Arena personnel may ask you to present identification anytime after purchase, so it’s important to keep an ID on you if you plan on drinking.

Passing beer off to a minor, attempting to use a fake ID, or showing clear signs of intoxication will afford you an immediate ejection from the arena.

Beer sales end at the 12-minute mark of the 2nd half for men’s basketball games. For women’s basketball events, sales conclude sales at the end of the 3rd quarter.

UT Vols & Lady Vols basketball betting odds

TBA is back to functioning at full capacity this season, and fans are eager to see the UT Vols men’s program in action. The team’s Feb. 15 game against Kentucky is already sold out, and tickets are limited for their upcoming games against Auburn and Arkansas.

The Vols currently rank 11th in the Southeastern Conference under head coach Rick Barnes, earning them odds of winning the SEC.

Tennessee sportsbooks give them odds of reaching the Final Four and  odds of a National Championship win.


The men have certainly proven themselves in the past, but Lady Vols are the ones really turning the heat up this winter. The women’s current 15-1 season record has afforded them the top seed in the SEC.

Finding Tennessee sportsbooks with women’s college basketball odds is a more difficult task, however. DraftKings TN is currently the only sportsbook offering women’s NCAA basketball odds. And even then, your only choice is to wager on the outright WNCAAB Championship winner.

If betting on an upcoming game isn’t an option, at least experiencing one in person is.

The Lady Vols basketball season runs from now until the end of February, and tickets are still available for each home game while supplies last.

Photo by Associated Press
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Alec Cunningham

As a college athlete, Alec Cunningham played Division II golf at Tusculum University. She graduated in 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Professional Writing. She then returned to her love of written word in 2000 after working in the music industry as a concert promoter, tour manager and artist developer. As a journalist, she's covered a variety of topics and currently specializes in Tennessee online sports betting and Virginia casino news. She served as a panelist at this year's All American Sports Betting Summit, discussing the ever-evolving role of women in the gambling industry.

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