KODAK, Tenn. (WATE) – The coronavirus pandemic is impacting sports leagues across the country. The Tennessee Smokies would be about two weeks away from the season opener.
“There is one word to describe sports right now and it’s uncertain,” Smokies President Chris Allen said. “No one knows when play will resume and what the format will look like once it returns.”
Allen says he believes they are likely looking at a prorated minor league season, eying June 1 as a potential start date. By that point they would have lost 40 games along with the revenue those games would’ve brought in.
Even if they do return June 1, Allen is unsure of what the scene would like here at Smokies Stadium.
“Come June 1, are the fans in the community still going to be ready to go to a baseball game where you have 4,000 people closely sitting side-by-side watching a baseball game? So that’s something we have to factor in too.”
“MLB needs to look at that if they start playing baseball in three weeks or whenever they start. Are they really going to have a fan base show up if this virus is impacting the community? I say you probably won’t.”Smokies President Chris Allen
Boyd Sports employs between 250 and 300 gameday employees between their four minor league teams as well as 50 full-time staff members. Allen spent his weekend at Smokies Stadium trying to work out the current financial situation. Allen reiterated multiple times they will be taking care of their employees.