Tennessee municipalities are spending on pro sports.
Tennessee Governor Bill Lee is about ready to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to make sure that Nashville and Memphis retain their big league standing. To that end, Lee would be interested in talking to the National Football League about Nashville hosting a Super Bowl. The NFL no longer puts the game up for bid. If a city or a state has an interest, the NFL will follow up. Nashville’s chances of landing a Super Bowl are not very high. The local stadium is 23 years old and needs significant improvements. The Tennessee Titans ownership has released a stadium renovation plan that could cost up to $600 million that includes a redesigned facility and an entertainment district. Half of that money would come from the Metro Sports Authority who would issue bonds for the project and the remainder would be funded by the Titans organization. Lee also wants to spend money to upgrade NASCAR facilities.
Major League Soccer awarded Nashville an expansion franchise in 2017 but the city had to build a stadium for the franchise. In 2018, Nashville elected officials said yes to a $275 million stadium project at the Fairgrounds Nashville which included a 10-acre mixed-use development with housing, retail, restaurants and a hotel. The city put up $225 million for the project in bonds. John Loar is probably going to look for some public money if Major League Baseball decides to expand and Nashville is awarded an expansion franchise. With significant investments in a football facility and a soccer stadium along with the city’s arena will there be any money left for Loar? In 2019, the National Hockey League’s Predators and the city reworked a lease deal which shifted how tax dollars went to the team. Lee may have a Memphis problem as the National Basketball Association’s Grizzlies’ lease is up soon.
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