Though chatter concerning the Tennessee Smokies ‘ (Class AA; Southern League) potential return to Knoxville had mounted in recent weeks, owner Randy Boyd says it is not in the cards.
Boyd, who owns the Smokies as part of Boyd Sports LLC, recently acquired seven acres of property in downtown Knoxville, prompting some discussion about whether the land would be used for a new ballpark. It was eventually confirmed that Boyd had engaged in some talks with Knoxville officials about potentially returning the team to the city, but such a move looked unlikely in the near future, as the team’s commitment to Smokies Park continues into March of 2025.
Comments from Boyd and Sevier County officials indicated that the Smokies were more likely to remain at Smokies Park for the time being, and Boyd recently confirmed that a new ballpark is not part of his development plan for the Knoxville property. More from WATE 6:
WATE 6 On Your Side Reporter Stephanie Beecken caught up with Boyd Tuesday and asked him about the prospects of building a baseball stadium in the Old City and moving the Smokies there.
“We’ve got a contract to be in Sevier County until 2025. We love the people in Sevier County. They’ve supported us and the family, and we are still supporting the Old City at the same time. We’re buying up lots of land and we’re hopefully going to be announcing some other projects – no baseball stadium – but other projects in the next six months in the Old City to help create a more vibrant community there,” said Boyd.
Before moving to Smokies Park in 2000, the Smokies had a long history in Knoxville. From 1954 until 1999, Bill Meyer Stadium in Knoxville hosted several minor league franchises, including the current incarnation of the Smokies, which began play in 1972.