Boyd Sports to discuss use of proposed stadium with new local United Soccer League team
Until an agreement is finalized, the United Soccer League team will play at a different location that has not yet been announced.
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Boyd Sports, LLC, which owns the Tennessee Smokies baseball team, is set to discuss the use of the newly proposed multi-use stadium in East Knoxville for a United Soccer League team.
The agreement between Boyd Sports and the local United Soccer League is dependent on the approval of the new stadium by the City of Knoxville and Knox County. The agreement would also be dependent on Boyd Sports being selected to manage the proposed stadium.
Drew McKenna, one of the founders of Knox Pro Soccer, said his group has reviewed the design and field layout of the proposed stadium.
“I’m a massive Cubs fan so I’d be thrilled to have the Smokies in downtown Knoxville,” McKenna said. “And this project is so much more than bringing a baseball team to town. We are excited to see how effective the stadium will be in catering not just to baseball, but also to other rectangular sports including soccer, football and lacrosse.”
The $65 million stadium was proposed by GEM Community Development Group. The stadium, if approved, would be located on the edge of the Old City and surrounded by restaurants, retail establishments and residences.
“We have said since the beginning that the stadium would be multi-use,” said Randy Boyd, founder of Boyd Sports. “The design of the stadium allows for other sports, such as soccer, and multiple other community events that can fill the seats throughout the year. We look forward to meeting with the local United Soccer League group to discuss any possibilities going forward.”
Knoxville Mayor Indya Kincannon and Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs have both supported Boyd Sports and Knox Pro Soccer entering an agreement to discuss using the proposed stadium for other sports in addition to baseball.
“We’ve said all along: If this stadium project proceeds, it will be a community amenity that’s much more than just a place to play and watch professional baseball,” Kincannon said. “It will be a space for everyone to enjoy.”
Mayor Jacobs said the agreement would be, “an exciting opportunity for the community and the facility.”
“We could see not only soccer and baseball but a host of other sports spanning from Little League to collegiate and minor league teams. Add this to the concerts and other entertainment we expect, and I know the facility will be a great venue for Knox Countians as well as a major driver for regional tourism,” Jacobs said.
The stadium would be the home of the Tennessee Smokies baseball team. The multi-use facility also would accommodate concerts, farmers’ markets and other community events.
McKenna said Knoxville does not currently have a facility that could house the fan base expected with the addition of the United Soccer League.
“We have high aspirations for the type of support we can engender and the attendance numbers we can generate. We want that excitement to stay in downtown Knoxville. This stadium uniquely offers that opportunity,” McKenna said.
Until an agreement is finalized, the United Soccer League team will play at a different location that has not yet been announced. The local team is set to start playing in 2022.
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