KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – University of Tennessee Director of Athletics Danny White on Thursday released a five-year strategic plan for the future of sports on Rocky Top, detailing goals to boost revenue and season ticket sales in pursuit of championships.
The plan, titled ‘Rise Glorious’ in a nod to the opening line of the university Alma Mater, outlines a renewed push for SEC and national championships across all sports through strategies including increased revenue, state-of-the-art facilities, expanded on-campus resources for student athletes, professional development, inclusive campus culture and other priorities.
Following White’s appointment in 2021, strategic planning began with the creation of a steering committee and six sub-committees focused on six priorities: Mission, Vision and Core Values, Student-Athlete Success, Culture, Resources, Brand Advancement & Messaging and Competitive Excellence.
“Rise Glorious serves as a very clear roadmap for accomplishing Tennessee Athletics’ mission of leading the way in college sports,” White said. “This plan outlines why Tennessee Athletics exists and how we must approach each day in order to attain all of our specific goals for the next five years. It establishes standards we all must live by—staff, coaches, student-athletes, campus community and fans alike—as we restore Tennessee Athletics to the front of the pack.”
$30 million+ increase in athletics operating budget
Tennessee aims to boost the overall athletics operating budget from $170 million for the 2022-23 to fiscal year to over $200 million by 2026-27. Among the strategies to boost revenue are a ‘simplified and equitable ticket-purchasing process’ beginning with the 2022 season, more premium seating sales and increased parking revenue.
The university aims return football season ticket sales to pre-pandemic levels with the goal of 70,000 season tickets sold for the 2026-27 season. It aims to sell 56,000 football season tickets in 2022-23 with incremental increases year-over-year.
Increasing season ticket sales for men’s and women’s basketball is also among the university’s stated goals. They aim to sell 12,500 and 5,500, respectively, in 2022-23 with the goal of selling 14,500 and 8,000 by 2026-27.
Other strategies include increasing contributions from The Shareholders Society, a philanthropic giving society for Tennessee Athletics, and expanding corporate sponsorship revenue from a goal of $18 million to $23 million by 2026-27.
In the arena of competition, the Volunteers are aiming for silverware. The plan outlines a series of ambitious objectives for titles across men’s and women’s sports.
- Win a national championship in at least one sport every four years
- Each sport will achieve at least one national top-16 finish every four years
- Each sport will win a conference championship at least once every five years
- Five conference championships in one academic year across all sports
- Average at least three conference championships over the next five years
- Finish top among SEC schools in the Learfield Directors’ Cup
The plan calls for the creation of a comprehensive master plan to provide state-of-the-art facilities for all 20 sports.
Tennessee Athletics’ new vision statement was also unveiled in the strategic plan: Deliver an unparalleled student-athlete experience fueled by the relentless pursuit of comprehensive excellence; be bold and innovative in our approach to recruiting and developing well-rounded graduates, championship-driven competitors and world-changing leaders.
It establishes seven core values through which “Vols lead:” academic success, inclusive preeminence, honesty and integrity; competitive excellence; holistic health and well-being; and the power of Vol Nation.
“We are just scratching the surface of what we can accomplish here together,” football head coach and steering committee member Josh Heupel said. “The passion, competitiveness and camaraderie across the board in all sports is unmatched. It truly is a family. Our staff and student-athletes love going to events across all sports. We not only want to fulfill our goals in the overall mission of Tennessee Athletics, but we want to be a part of the environment at other venues as well. We are all encouraging each other to be the best, department-wide.”
Read the full, 21-page strategic plan below