A change at Howard Johnson Field in 2016, as the City of Johnson City unanimously approved a 10-year lease for Boyd Sports, owner of the Tennessee Smokies (Class AA; Southern League), to assume the management contract of the Johnson City Cardinals (rookie; Appalachian League).
As part of the management deal, Boyd Sports will spend $400,000 on investments to the Cardinals baseball facilities, including an artificial turf infield, party deck pavilion, locker room upgrades, ticketing system and concessions renovations.
“We were excited to receive support from the City of Johnson City and start this partnership with Boyd Sports,” said General Manager Tyler Parsons. “It’s been a long journey to get to this point, and a lot of people offered their support. From the Johnson City Sports Foundation and Boyd Sports to the St. Louis Cardinals, Dale Ford and Appalachian League President Lee Landers, we would never have made it to this point without them. And obviously we want to thank the City of Johnson City and the Parks and Rec department for believing baseball has a bright future in this community. This is a culmination of all the hard work people put in before me, and I think we can continue to build something special here with the Johnson City Cardinals.”
Boyd Sports will assume the managerial agreement from the Johnson City Sports Foundation, a nonprofit that has ran the Cardinals since 2004. Both General Manager Tyler Parsons and Assistant General Manager Zac Clark, who were employed under the Johnson City Sports Foundation, will stay on in their current roles with Boyd Sports.
“The Johnson City Sports Foundation has done a great job of growing this organization, and their success was a major factor in our interest,” said Smokies’ President and COO Chris Allen. “Johnson City is a great baseball town and the Cardinals have been here over forty years and I love the downtown atmosphere. The facility just needs a little attention, and we’ve got some great plans for this ballpark. I’ve been a part of numerous stadium renovations in my career, and I’ve seen how the community reacts when you invest some of your own money in the facility.
As part of the new management agreement, Boyd Sports will assume year round control of the ballpark and has plans to host numerous community events including concerts, festivals and tournaments. Additionally, Science Hill High School, who uses the field from January to May each year, will continue to have full use of the facility during that time period with the new lease.
Photo by Mark Cryan.
RELATED STORIES: Baseball Across America: Johnson City