Blog for Zipline Attraction in the Smoky Mountains

Located in Pigeon Forge, TN and near Gatlinburg and Sevierville.


Sports Illustrated Is Coming To Town

By Ross Bodhi Ogle
Posted on October 17, 2023

From time to time this past year, we have posted regular updates on our Facebook page concerning the 407: Gateway to Adventure development that is already well under way in Sevierville, just off Interstate 40, at exit 407. Visitors to the area have already seen the first phases of that project come online, including the new Buc-ee's location and construction on more than one hotel property.

Recent talk has also revolved around the involvement of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians in bringing some sort of live entertainment to the area, and now, one of the latest possibilities is a partnership between that organization and Sports Illustrated. This week, we're going to share more details with you about this project, which promises to make the exit 407 interchange even more bustling than it already is.

The timing is probably good. At this point, it looks like Sevierville will be losing part of its sporting identity when the Tennessee Smokies minor league baseball team will likely return to Knoxville within the next couple of seasons. They've been playing their home games at Smokies Stadium, also a part of the 407 interchange. That will leave a big vacuum for Sports Illustrated to fill, and in recent weeks, we've learned more about what to expect.

We should also preface all of this by noting that nothing is an absolute done deal yet in terms of the Sports Illustrated development. There are still lots of I's to dot and Ts to cross, but for now, we're going to work under the assumption that everything will pan out.

Contributing to this partnership between SI and the Cherokee is the fact that Kituwah - the economic development arm of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians - recently became the largest equity holder in the Sports Illustrated Resorts brand. The company's involvement will be part of phase two of 407: Gateway to Adventure's development and include an overnight destination resort. Currently, SI is operating only one other resort, and that's in the Dominican Republic. A second one is planned to debut in Orlando, Florida, in 2024 or 2025. The Smoky Mountains destination may not be fully open until 2026.

Supposedly, Kituwah has agreed to invest more than $300 million in the resorts, following a model established by the Seminole Tribe, which began investing in the Hard Rock brand beginning in 2007. They're looking to locate themselves near college towns with well-established athletic programs. In this case, the 407 site is the ideal middle ground between tourism communities (Sevierville, Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg) and Knoxville, Tennessee, home of the Tennessee Volunteers sports teams.

So what can visitors expect? Based on existing SI properties in other areas, features will include a high-quality gym and an SI Stadium, which includes a sports bar and grill that can double as an event space. There will be on-site concierges to assist guests with activities, and likely experiences just for kids, such as a mini-amusement park with virtual reality machines and water rides.

If you want to zipline Sevierville, Tennessee, however, you'll still need to visit Smoky Mountain Ziplines. We offer a thrilling outdoor experience you can partake in from March through December. Our canopy tour features seven ziplines of varying lengths, including one that's more than 800 feet long. We also have ziplines that stand as high as 100 feet above the ground, and our vertical descent feature is a cool side activity along the way.

And you don't have to wait years to come play with us. Give us a call today or book your tour on our website. As the fall colors are about to peak in the Smokies, we offer one heck of a scenic backdrop for your day on the ziplines.


This content posted by Smoky Mountain Ziplines. Visit our home page, for more information on zipline adventures in the Smoky Mountains.

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