KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The Tennessee Smokies are set for a name change when the team moves into a newly-approved $74.5 million multiuse stadium in downtown Knoxville.
Beginning in 2024, the Double A minor league affiliate of the Chicago Cubs will officially be known as the Knoxville Smokies when they move into their new 7,000-seat stadium in the Old City neighborhood.
A proposed lease agreement between the Knoxville-Knox County Sports Authority and Boyd Sports, the team ownership group led by Randy Boyd, states that ‘Knoxville’ must be included as part of the team name. That agreement is set to be officially signed later this month.
The change will mark a return to the historic origins of baseball in the city. The Knoxville Pioneers were the city’s first baseball team in 1921 before becoming the Knoxville Smokies in 1925. The team reprised the moniker from 1993-1999 after multiple name changes in the 70s and 80s.
The team has been known as the Tennessee Smokies since 2000 when the team moved to an 8,000-seat stadium in Kodak. The team will remain the Tennessee Smokies until their move into the new stadium.
Developers of the stadium have pledged to bring more than $100 million in private investment for residential properties, dining and retail businesses. Plans also include hosting other events, such as One Knoxville Sporting Club games, festivals and concerts.