Study to move Bristol Pirates stadium to Tenn. underway


BRISTOL, Va. (WJHL) – City leaders in both Bristols are discussing building a new stadium for the Bristol Pirates Minor League Baseball Team on the Tennessee side of the state line.

News Channel 11 learned more about a study that takes a closer look at the impact that change could have.

Bristol, Tennessee leaders did a feasibility study back in 2016 looking into creating a new multi-use event facility for the Pirates.

Phase two of that study could be underway in the coming months and it could give the Pirates new life.

There’s no doubt – the Bristol Pirates stadium is historic.

“This year marks our 50th consecutive years that we’ve had proball here in Bristol,” Pirates General Manager Mahlon Luttrell said.

Luttrell wants to see new life for the Bristol Pirates baseball experience.

“We just want baseball to survive in Bristol, whether it’s in Virginia, whether it’s in Tennessee,” Luttrell said.

With a historic field – comes the need for updates.

“The seating, the restroom facilities, press box, concession area,” Luttrell said.

Luttrell and city leaders are hoping for economic growth if the stadium were to move from Bristol, Virginia to about 3/4 of a mile away downtown.

Bristol, Tennessee Mayor Margaret Feierabend said the study shows downtown is a hot spot.

“The biggest economic impact would be in our downtown, we like that idea,” Feierabend said.

There are still hurdles before anything can move forward.

“The costs are huge so it’s figuring out how the funding can happen with the city playing a minimum role with the actual cash funding of the project,” Feierabend said.

Luttrell said they’re going to have to find some private investors who would like to see the stadium grow.

“Part of it would be exploring our high schools using that facility because neither high school has an ideal baseball stadium,” Feierabend said.

Even though the stadium could be moving across statelines – Bristol, Virginia’s mayor likes the downtown area.

“A lot of cities around the U.S. have done this, and they’ve turned those cities around in those areas. They’ve put them where they need a development,” Bristol, Virginia Mayor Kevin Mumpower said.

Luttrell is optimistic about Bristol Pirates’ future.

“If you look around the country, when a new stadium comes into play it just explodes,” Luttrell said.

Luttrell said the next steps are taking a closer look at financing and site selections.

Two other sites considered in the study are the Pinnacle Development Site and the Bristol Motor Speedway area.

Luttrell tells us the estimated cost for this potential new stadium would be $16 million.

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