Proposed Publicly-owned Sports and Entertainment Stadium

Chief Economic and Community Development Officer and Deputy to the Mayor

Stephanie Welch
swelch@knoxvilletn.gov
(865) 215-2029

400 Main St., Room 655
Knoxville, TN 37902

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PUBLICLY-OWNED MULTI-USE STADIUM FAQS
Click here to view frequently asked questions and answers about the publicly-owned multi-use stadium.


The City of Knoxville and Knox County are jointly exploring the possibility of building a publicly-owned multi-use sports and entertainment stadium near downtown, just east of the Old City.


SEPTEMBER 28, 2021 MEETING

The fifth formal meeting of the Sports Authority will be at 9 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 28, 2021 at the City of Knoxville Public Works Service Center, 3131 Morris Ave.

A proposed City- and County-owned multi-use stadium project east of the Old City, if authorized by the City and County, would be financed, built and managed by the Sports Authority. 

The total economic impact of the stadium and surrounding private development is projected to be nearly $480 million over 30 years. The estimated cost to the City and County would be $240,000 for each government annually for the first 10 years; in comparison, that’s slightly more than the City pays for its annual cell phone contract, or for one of the City or County mowing contracts for public properties.

The total cost of the stadium, including land value and depending on amenities and design specifics, is estimated between $75 million and $90.5 million. Developer Randy Boyd would be donating $10 million to $16 million in private funds toward the total cost in the form of a donation, and the state of Tennessee has provided a $13.5 million economic development grant. 

The goal is for new money generated by the project – such as sales taxes on concessions and new revenue from surrounding private property development – to pay off the construction bonds. No property taxes will be used to pay for the stadium.

The proposal calls for the stadium to be leased to Boyd Sports for use by the Tennessee Smokies AA Southern League baseball team for roughly $1 million a year, but the stadium would host hundreds of other non-baseball events each year, such as soccer matches, concerts or festivals. As part of a larger redevelopment effort around the stadium, GEM Community Development Group, the private partner to Boyd Sports, is committed to investing more than $100 million to build apartments, condos, restaurants, offices and space for a potential grocery in East Knoxville.

If the City and County authorize the Sports Authority to finalize agreements and initiate construction financing, a ground-breaking would happen in early 2022 and the stadium is anticipated to open in late 2023, with plans for Southern League professional baseball to be played here in spring 2024.

Sports Authority board meetings are scheduled through the end of 2021 on these dates: Oct. 26, Nov. 23 and Dec. 28.


AUGUST 19, 2021 CITY COUNCIL / COUNTY COMMISSION WORKSHOP

A joint City Council / County Commission Workshop on the Proposed Publicly-owned Sports and Entertainment Stadium was held on Thursday, Aug. 19, 2021. See below for information presented at the workshop.

• Aug. 19, 2021 - PowerPoint Presentation from Joint Workshop of City Council and County Commission [PDF] (80MB)
• Aug. 18, 2021 - CSL's  Tax Revenue and Economic Impact Assessment for the Proposed Multi-Use Stadium [PDF] (35MB)


JULY 17, 2021 MEETING INFO

A Block Party and Information Session for the proposed multi-use stadium was held on Saturday, July 17, 2021 at 400 E. Jackson Ave., near the site of a proposed multi-use stadium.
Read more about the event or view Block Party presentation materials [PDF]


Event renderings
Footer logo info

Bringing professional baseball back to Knoxville is undergoing a stringent review, and community conversations are underway.  A newly-formed Sports Authority has been tasked with doing a deep study of a proposed publicly-owned sports and entertainment stadium and will finance, build and manage the stadium if the proposal moves forward.



Check out this video, showing the proposed site for a public stadium, taken by a drone flyover last October. The vacant site lies between Hall of Fame Drive, Jackson Avenue, Willow Avenue and Florida Street, just east of the Old City. Since these images were taken, the property owners have demolished many of the former meat-packing plant buildings. Stay tuned for additional photos and videos if the stadium projects moves forward.


“In making this investment, the public benefit has to be greater than the public cost,” Knoxville Mayor Indya Kincannon has said. “Our initial research shows that to be the case, and a highly experienced Sports Authority will be digging deeper and doing an independent analysis.

“This private-public partnership on a stadium has the potential to tie together Downtown, the Old City and East Knoxville while bringing a mostly vacant area back into reuse and creating new jobs and economic opportunities.”


SPORTS AUTHORITY BOARD



  MEETINGS
  The next meeting of the Sports Authority is 9 a.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 28, 2021, in the Community Room of the the City of Knoxville Public Works Service Center, 3131 Morris Ave. 

Attendees are asked to wear face masks indoors, in accordance with the Executive Order requiring face coverings to be worn in all City buildings.

Remaining 2021 Sports Authority board meetings are as follows:
Oct. 26
Nov. 23
Dec. 28
   
Members of the new Sports Authority, appointed jointly by City Council and County Commission in April 2021:

Richard H. Bass, a University of Tennessee graduate and a retired bank executive who served as trustee for the Maryland Sports Authority that issued bonds for construction of Orioles Park at Camden Yards, the Baltimore Ravens’ stadium, the Baltimore Convention Center and other facilities

Joan C. Cronan, UT Women’s Athletic Director Emeritus, speaker, author, consultant, community leader and member of eight different Halls of Fame

Jeff Hagood, founding partner with the Hagood Moody Hodge law firm, longtime President of the Knoxville Quarterback Club, and co-author of two sports-themed books – one on Vol standout Inky Johnson and the other, “A Perfect Season,” with UT Coach Phillip Fulmer

Tim Hill, co-founder and President of Hatcher-Hill Properties, which develops commercial and mixed-use properties in Knoxville with a focus on historic preservation and revitalization; Hill serves as a Knoxville-Knox County Planning Commissioner, on the boards of Knox Heritage and CareCuts, and as President of the Bearden Village Council

Alvin J. Nance, CEO of LHP Development, formerly the longtime Executive Director and CEO of Knoxville’s Community Development Corp., and the former Vice Chairman of the Tennessee Housing Development Agency

Nikitia Thompson, owner/broker of Realty Executives – Nikitia Thompson Realty, a former Chair of the KUB Board, secretary of the Knoxville Chamber Board and a community leader who actively works on diversity and equity issues

Rosalyn Tillman, retired Dean (and previously Assistant Dean) of Pellissippi State Community College’s Magnolia Avenue campus for 21 years; almost 3,000 high school students have successfully completed the Summer Institute, a collaborative effort between Pellissippi State and Project GRAD that Tillman implemented and directed

Click here to learn more about the Sports Authority Board


CONTACT INFORMATION



Questions? Email knoxvillestadium@knoxvilletn.gov.

Stephanie Welch
Deputy to Mayor / Chief of Economic and Community Development
City of Knoxville
865-215-2029
swelch@knoxvilletn.gov

Rebekah Jane Justice
Deputy Chief, Economic and Community Development
City of Knoxville
865-215-3086
rjustice@knoxvilletn.gov

Chris Caldwell
Finance Director
Knox County
865-215-2350
chris.caldwell@knoxcounty.org


FAST FACTS



• Creating a Sports Authority is a non-binding step in the process of exploring the feasibility and cost-benefit analysis of building a publicly-owned stadium just east of the Old City

• The stadium would be leased to Boyd Sports and the Tennessee Smokies AA Southern League baseball team, but the facility would be designed to accommodate other sports and host hundreds of other non-baseball events each year, such as concerts, festivals or soccer games

• The stadium concourse would be open year round (except when in use for scheduled events) for community use, much like a park

• Smokies owner Randy Boyd has agreed to enter into a market-value 30-year lease that would allow the Smokies to play in the new stadium for decades to come

• As part of a larger redevelopment effort around the stadium, GEM Community Development Group, the private development partner to Boyd Sports, is planning to invest more than $100 million to build apartments, condos, restaurants and offices

• The Sports Authority will not be able to borrow funds for stadium construction without authorization from the City and County

• The City and County will review the development agreement, lease agreement, financing and construction documents to determine if the stadium project makes sense for the community; then, Council and Commission will vote on an interlocal agreement to authorize the Sports Authority to proceed with the project 

• If all goes well, construction could begin as early as fall 2021, and the multi-use stadium will be open for community use and events in 2023


MORE DETAILS



CITY OF KNOXVILLE

• City of Knoxville: Mayors Jointly Recommend 7 Appointees to Serve on Sports Authority
• City of Knoxville & Knox County: Public Presentation, April 15, 2021 [PDF]
• City Social Media: Sports Authority Meets, Selects Officers

BOYD SPORTS

• Boyd Sports: Bring Baseball Back
• Boyd Sports: GEM Community Development Group donates $1.6 M to youth sports, Claude Walker Park makeover
• Boyd Sports: PowerPoint presentation at Sports Authority's May 20, 2021 meeting [PDF]

OTHER

• Knoxville Area Urban League: GEM Community Development Group to Enter into Partnership with Urban League
Knoxville Area Association of Realtors: New poll shows voters support multi-use stadium
Sports Authority Board: Board listing and information on VisitKnoxville.com