The University of Tennessee athletic department announced Wednesday that $200 million had already been secured toward a $500 million goal, as it officially launched the ambitious "My All" campaign.
As reported by the Tennessean, key donors include former Vols quarterback Peyton Manning, UT System president Randy Boyd and members of the Haslam family, including former Tennessee governor Bill Haslam, Pilot Flying J founder Jim Haslam and Cleveland Browns co-owner Jimmy Haslam.
First-year athletic director Danny White called donor interest the "dominant factor" in how the money will be spent while stressing "bang for the buck." Said White, "There is so much to do and so much opportunity."
White has two projects in mind to start quickly at Neyland Stadium, which he said echo the type of upgrades and updates seen at modern facilities nationwide, the Tennessean reported.
UT plans to create a premium experience on the lower west side of Neyland Stadium behind the Tennessee bench. The other plan has two parts — adding a north end zone video board, with a standing-room-only area underneath it. White envisions the area being like a sports bar "aimed at a younger demographic."
The two upgrades, slated for completion by the 2022 season, were already "in the queue," White said, and he expects both to be revenue-producing changes. “There’s a lot of updating, which is financially a challenge," he said. "But is also is an opportunity for us to take this iconic sports venue and put our own unique spin on it and bring together a modern experience while also protecting the storied history of Neyland Stadium.”
In addition, White emphasized the need for "different and better fan amenities," including premium seating, at Lindsey Nelson Stadium, home to Tennessee baseball. Specifics will be hammered out after the season, with input from head coach Tony Vitello.
“I am committed to whatever our baseball coach tells me gives the best opportunity to recruit and develop players at a really high level," said White, who considers Tennessee's baseball program as having "probably the biggest discrepancy [between] the level we are competing at and the level we are resourced."