Tennessee Smokies owner Randy Boyd proposed last month to relocate the baseball team by 2019.
In the proposal sent to Sevierville and Sevier County, Boyd suggested the Double-A baseball team could remain playing in Sevierville through the 2018 season.
Boyd, the state’s economic and community development commissioner, recently purchased approximately 7 acres in Knoxville’s Old City for $6 million, fueling speculation he might bring baseball back to Knoxville.
A July 19 email from Sevier County Economic Development Executive Director Allen Newton cited information from Boyd and said a stadium in Knoxville would cost in the “$50 to $60 million range.”
Newton’s comments and Boyd’s proposal were in emails obtained by the News Sentinel via a public records request. Knoxville officials and Boyd began discussions on moving the Smokies to downtown Knoxville from Sevierville as early as 2014, emails obtained in a separate public records request show.
In the emails, Newton said he was “shocked” that “Knoxville and Knox County would even make a proposal to Randy Boyd Sports,” knowing significant years remain on the Tennessee Smokies lease in Sevierville. The lease expires in 2025.