The $114 million Knoxville- and Knox County-owned multi-use stadium, to be built in East Knoxville, just east of the Old City, has hit a major milestone this week and is moving forward – on schedule and within budget.
The Knoxville-Knox County Sports Authority’s financing team, led by J.P. Morgan, went to the bond market Wednesday. Agreements were reached with buyers, pending final closure in June, to purchase $65 million in publicly-backed bonds to construct the stadium. The 30-year bond issue achieved a true interest cost (TIC) of 5 percent.
Market conditions are increasingly volatile and reflect investors’ uncertainty regarding Congressional authorization to raise the nation’s debt ceiling. The financing team factored in future unpredictability when deciding to finalize the financing the week of May 22 and secured several key buyers for the bonds. The City and Knox County’s respective debt obligations remain unchanged from earlier financing plans.
“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 stadium is expected to host hundreds of events each year – professional baseball games, soccer matches, concerts, festivals and other public events – beginning in 2025. Construction team leaders say the stadium project is comfortably on pace to be finished on schedule.
An independent analysis estimates that the total economic impact of the publicly-owned stadium and surrounding private development in East Knoxville will be $480 million over 30 years, with more than 400 full-time jobs created.