On their Instagram account, the Tennessee Smokies announced they will be looking for a new downtown ballpark. The lease of the current stadium is expiring in 2024, a good moment to look beyond the horizon according to the club.
The current ballpark, Smokies Stadium, opened its doors in 2000. So by the time the lease expires, it will be 24 years old. One can wonder if it that is a reason to look for a new ballpark. But on the other hand, the Texas Rangers moved into a new ballpark after having spent only 20 years in their old one…
According to their Instagram account, Smokies’ owner Randy Boyd stated the following: “In a time when we are physically separated and not hearing a lot of good news, I want to share something I hope will rally folks together and get people excited. For our family, that’s Smokies Baseball. The City of Sevierville and Sevier County have been terrific partners for many years, but our stadium contract expires in 2024, so it seems like a good time to think through all options. That’s why Boyd Sports is teaming up with so many others in Knoxville to explore a potential new baseball complex in Downtown Knoxville – modeled after Chicago’s famed Wrigleyville with a state-of-the-art stadium, apartments, shopping, and restaurants.”
Talks are in the early stages and meetings with officials and community members so they can give their input on the idea. Like so often with downtown ballparks, the idea is that a ballpark in a downtown area will spur social and financial activities. Take Riverwalk Stadium, home of, the Smokies’ Southern League rival the Montgomery Biscuits. With the construction of the ballpark, a whole area was revived and is flourishing now.
The apartments, stores, and restaurants, that were mentioned earlier, will help to finance the project and eventually earn money back.
Even though the rendering looks nice, it remains questionable if the Smokies (AA farm team of the Chicago Cubs) really need a new ballpark yet as their current one is only 20 years old.
To be continued.