A bill is headed to Gov. Bill Lee’s desk that would allow college sports venues, including those on the University of Tennessee campus, to sell alcohol at events such as concerts.
The measure passed the State House on Thursday morning, after passing the Senate earlier in the week.
“This vote by the Tennessee General Assembly will help promote tourism and economic development for our region,” UT said in a news release.
“Knoxville is currently the only one of the four major Tennessee cities that doesn’t allow alcohol sales at its major venue, making it difficult to book many entertainment acts,” the university statement said. “We look forward to the bill becoming law and its responsible implementation.”
Southeastern Conference rules would still prevent alcohol from being sold during games, except in private areas like skyboxes.
Sponsor State Sen. Becky Duncan Massey said the inability to sell alcohol during concerts and other events at Neyland Stadium and Thompson-Boling Arena prevents them from competing with other venues for big-name performers.
“I’m happy that the General Assembly has passed legislation which allows alcohol sales at on-campus venues for non-sporting events,” said Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs. “Allowing alcohol sales at venues like Thompson-Boling Arena makes Knox County more competitive with other venues in our region when it comes to attracting big-name artists, events and concerts.
“Not only will this help boost our local hospitality industry; it will also bring more quality entertainment for our residents to enjoy.”