You Ask, 6 Answers: What’s a sports authority?

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — We’re learning more about a sports authority possibly coming to Knoxville ahead of talks for bringing baseball back to town.

The sports authority here in Knoxville would be a coalition that would oversee the development of a sports facility, should one be approved by city council. Forming one would be a swing toward a home run on bringing the Smokies into town.

On Monday, we reported how city and county leaders are looking to bring a baseball stadium to the Old City and while Knoxville Mayor Indya Kincannon says they are still early in the discussions, many wanted to know — what exactly is a sports authority?

We asked an expert.

“It’s called technically a ‘public nonprofit corporation,” says attorney Mark Mamanov. “They use the same term for things like our housing authority, our airport authority, the industrial development boards that are created here in our community, so there are a number of nonprofit corporations that are created under state law to serve specific purposes, sports authorities are just one of them.”

Mamanov also added, “They were largely created to help attract professional sports franchises originally to Nashville. The first big financing for sports authorities were done for what is now the Titans Coliseum, but they’ve been used for everything from FedEx Forum in Memphis to the existing Smokies Stadium in Sevierville.”

The sports authority will be made up of a board of citizens (not elected officials), similar to a nonprofit board, with a minimum of seven people who will be appointed by local leaders.

The Knoxville City Council is expected to discuss the item at its Dec. 15 meeting.

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