An aerial view of the newly-completed CHI Memorial Stadium, which will open as the permanent home of Chattanooga Red Wolves SC in the coming weeks when the 2020 USL League One season begins. | Photo courtesy Chattanooga Red Wolves SC
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. – It’s been exactly one year since Chattanooga Red Wolves SC broke ground on its permanent home.
And it now may only be a matter of weeks before the club’s players are taking to the field for their home opener at what is now dubbed CHI Memorial Stadium.
Even the club’s leadership has been pleasantly surprised by how quickly it has all come together, with not only the issues the country has faced this year, but also local challenges that have been unique to Chattanooga.
“It’s been remarkable what the stadium development company has achieved,” said Red Wolves General Manager Sean McDaniel this week. “Coming off the wettest winter in the history of Chattanooga and the COVID-19 pandemic and still managing to build a playable professional stadium in under a year is an amazing feat.”
And with the schedule soon set to be announced ahead of the Red Wolves’ return to action in USL League One’s second season, momentum is building behind the club. Late last month, the Red Wolves announced three sections of CHI Memorial Stadium had already sold out, and tickets are moving quickly around the rest of the venue, with the club anticipating an August 1 home opener.
The Red Wolves are also aiming to host fans at that contest, with members of the Front Office working alongside CHI Memorial Hospital’s infectious disease experts and local health officials to develop an extensive plan to allow fans safely into the venue.
“The excitement of CHI Memorial Stadium opening, along with USL League One establishing a return-to-play date, has translated into a boost of season-ticket sales,” said McDaniel. “Our Ticket Sales team expects to continue filling each section, as we have doubled weekly season-ticket sales each week since the USL approved the return-to-play framework. The people of Chattanooga have rallied around our organization, and we have been fortunate to capitalize on the momentum that everyone in our community has played a part in creating.”
For local officials, the completion of the first stage of the project has been welcome news, as has the impact the Red Wolves have made within the local community. That impact has increased over recent months as the club’s focus has turned to helping Chattanoogans stay safe and healthy.
“We are impressed as to the tremendous progress that has been made with the amazing field and stunning grandstands at CHI Memorial stadium and are so very excited to be able to watch the Red Wolves play at their home field this year in East Ridge, Tennessee,” said Brian Williams, Mayor of East Ridge. “We are already seeing the increased impact that this project has had on the community and are excited for all of the growth that the future holds.”
East Ridge Mayor Brian Williams, CHI Memorial Hospital's Janelle Reilly and Chattanooga Red Wolve SC owner Bob Martino unveiled the name of the League One club's new venue in March. | Photo courtesy Chattanooga Red Wolves SC
But while the season gets ready to kick off, the Red Wolves are getting ready to kick on with the next phase of construction, which will see the addition to the stadium of features including the planned Beer Garden, Executive Club, and Suites and the start of construction of the commercial and residential complex around the stadium.
“We anticipate beginning construction on supporting amenities for the stadium such as players club house and the stadiums club services area,” said McDaniel. “The residential [apartments and for sale residences] will begin simultaneously with retail and commercial offerings.”
As quickly as the first phase of construction has been completed, the Red Wolves have shown their local partners and fans the commitment that will make the club a fixture for years to come.
“We are excited to watch this important project take shape and be able to contribute not only to the appreciation and growth of soccer, but to the community as a whole,” said Lisa McClusky, Vice President of Marketing Communications at CHI Memorial Health Care System. “We look forward to this innovative venue becoming a beacon for sports tourism, a place where we can work together to strengthen community health and wellness, and further economic development in our region.”