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Sports Authority, Boyd sign downtown stadium development agreement

The agreement clears the way for the stadium to be financed and built.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Clearing one of the final hurdles before the downtown stadium can be built in Knoxville, Smokies' owner Randy Boyd and Knoxville-Knox County Sports Authority Chairman Alvin Nance signed the development agreement for the stadium. 

This is the first agreement signed by Boyd and any representatives of the Sports Authority Board. 

By the terms of the agreement, the new downtown ballpark would be the home of the Tennessee Smokies by 2025. 

The Sports Authority now has to fund the construction of the stadium. 

The nearly $114 million project would be financed by a mix of public funding and money pledged from Boyd. 

The $114 million would be financed through: 

  • $65 million from a bond issued by the Sports Authority backed by an interlocal agreement between the city of Knoxville and Knox County
  • a $13.5 million state grant
  • $13 million contributed by the developer, Randy Boyd
  • $20 million loan provided by Randy Boyd, paid back through an expanded Tax Increment Financing District

Knoxville and Knox County expect to make about $800,000 payments each, every year, to service the debt from the $65 million bond issue. 

The 7,000-seat stadium is planned to house the Tennessee Smokies, soccer, concerts and other events. When events or games are not happening at the stadium, city and county leaders envision the stadium will be a public space, open for anyone to visit. 

The Tennessee Smokies would lease the stadium from the Sports Authority for $1 million per year. The lease agreement is expected to be signed in the next three to four weeks, Boyd Sports President Doug Kirchhofer said in an email to 10News. 

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