Knoxville’s Smokies stadium funding secured, a crucial step as construction ramps up

Knoxville’s Smokies stadium funding secured, a crucial step as construction ramps up Info
Construction of the $114 million Tennessee Smokies baseball stadium in Knoxville can move forward at full speed after officials issued $65 million in bonds to finance the project.

The Knoxville-Knox County Sports Authority sold the 30-year bonds May 24 at an interest rate of 5%, below the maximum 6% outlined in the deal. The sale provides funding to continue construction already underway just east of downtown Knoxville’s Old City.

“We negotiated a successful sale, which was completed today,” Sports Authority Treasurer Richard Bass said. “One benefit to going to the market when we did was to mitigate the risk of increasing interest rates. Both the city and the county have strong credit ratings, which we believe attracted buyers and allowed the financing to be accomplished.”

The bond sale had been briefly paused to see if interest rates might change during U.S. debt ceiling negotiations. But the rates remained low, allowing the Sports Authority to secure financing at a reasonable cost.

Bonds are essentially a loan from buyers, who earn interest as the bonds are repaid. The Sports Authority’s finance team, led by J.P. Morgan, found buyers for the $65 million bond issue.

Construction remains on schedule to finish the new stadium in spring 2025. Tennessee Smokies owner Randy Boyd has committed up to $20 million for construction costs and $6 million of his own money for the project.

With financing now in place, construction crews can move full speed ahead on the new stadium east of downtown Knoxville. Baseball fans can look forward to enjoying games in the new ballpark in just over two years.

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