Reports: VT and UT to play at BMS in 2016

Bristol Motor Speedway
Bristol Motor Speedway

Multiple media outlets are reporting that Virginia Tech and Tennessee will play a football game at the Bristol Motor Speedway (BMS) in the 2016 football season.

Per Andy Bitter of the Roanoke Times, neither school has confirmed the game, but BMS has scheduled a press conference at 11 AM next Monday, October 14th.

BMS has a seating capacity of 160,000 fans for a race, and it’s not clear at this point how the logistics of playing a game on the infield of the race track will be handled.

The record for attendance at a college football game is 115,109, set last month when Michigan hosted Notre Dame. A VT-UT game at Bristol has the ability to easily shatter the record. Tennessee’s Neyland Stadium seats 102,455, and Virginia Tech’s Lane Stadium seats 66,233, so a sellout of BMS is not out of the question.

It won’t be the first time, however that BMS has been the site of a football game. In 1961, the track hosted a National Football League preseason game between the Philadelphia Eagles and Washington Redskins, per a 2005 article on and this March 2013 article on

The deal, when finalized, will bring to fruition a concept that has been around since the late 1990s but which first gained serious traction in 2005, when BMS owner Bruton Smith said he would offer $20 million to both schools to play at BMS. Smith boasted at the time that he would tear down newly constructed buildings in the infield and install artificial turf so the two teams could play.

“We’ll level the whole place. We’ll put in the Astroturf, and we’ll do it all,” Smith said back in August 2005.

So far, Smith isn’t doing any talking, and when the details are announced, it’s going to be interesting to see how they’re going to pull the game off, and how much each team will be paid. But there’s no question that when the game happens, there’s going to be just as much attention focused on the event — over 150,000 people attending a college football game — than the game itself.

What do Hokie fans think? Find out by joining the conversation on our chat boards or vBulletin forums.


21 Responses You are logged in as Test

    1. Neyland seats 100,000+ and Lane seats 66,000. This is a short road game for both schools. This is a trip most fans can make. There are over 120,000 residents in the tri cities are alone. Just being apart of such a huge football venue will attract people from outside just to be a part of history.

      This is such a no brainer

  1. I believe this will be great for Virginia Tech and Tennessee. I live in Abingdon, VA and I used to go to the Bristol races every years prior to the restructuring of the track. I remember when races would be sold out and the stands would be full. This game will sellout and will be a HUGE recruiting tool for both programs. Tennessee is on the rise and this could set up and Top 10 match up three seasons from now.
    The atmosphere will be amazing. I can see people tailgating/camping two days prior to the big game. I think this will be epic for college football.
    This is a dream come true for the fan bases of southwestern Virginia and northeast Tennessee.
    Whether or not anyone thinks it, there is a rivalry between the two schools among people who live on the Virginia and Tennessee borders.

  2. Just like my roommate told me back in 1999… We’ve got to go to the National Championship game because we may not be in another!

    I wouldn’t have believed it… We were so spoiled.

  3. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of breaking a world record… Not alone the game! What an experience!

  4. UT and VT need to engage in a regular match up. This makes for a very sexy and lucrative match up in an area of our State that needs some love!

    1. Agree, if they can’t do BMS regularly, they could try to schedule regular matchups in ATL or DC, nevermind actually playing in Blacksburg or Knoxville. It would be a great OOC rivalry for both teams, neither of which really have a OOC rival scheduled regularly.

  5. I wonder if any recruits would be interested in setting the world record for attendance at a football game…..Nah…nothing motivating about being part of history.

  6. But I don’t think it’s an ideal stadium for a football game. Sure it seats 160000 but people in the back won’t be able to see anything cause it’s so far away. Fooball stadiums should have a more angled seating deck than this place, shouldn’t it? Has anyone who have actually been to the BMS comment on the visibility of the field from there?

    1. I tried to post this earlier, not sure what happened. The sideline seats are not as good as football stadium sideline seats but OK. The biggest problem is the endzone seating. From Will’s picture it appears there are 100 yards between the closest goal line and the center of the first row of end zone seats. Ouch! That puts the other goal line 200 yards away and the video board as it is will be 150 yards away.

      1. So maybe it is less than 160k and they install very tall endzone bleachers. 120k-130k is still huge.

  7. Wow. A message board legend come to life. I don’t know what to believe anymore.

    Will Metallica be there to play “Enter Sandman” live? Will VT take the field as the Mountain Lions? Will Glenn Dorsey devour the stadium and all its occupants before kickoff even happens? Anything is possible.

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