Under the terms of recently-introduced legislation, a proposed MLS stadium in Nashville could receive state assistance.
Tennessee state senator Steve Dickerson has proposed a bill that would help cover the stadium’s cost, as his legislation would allow sales tax revenue generated at the facility to be retained by Nashville Metro government. The bill, which follows a model used by other major sports facilities in the state, marks a turning point in Nashville.
Last week, it was confirmed that the city is one of 10 finalists for future rounds of MLS expansion. Efforts to attract a franchise have gathered momentum in recent months, with former state economic development official Bill Hagerty leading an coalition of backers that includes the ownership of the USL’s Nashville SC.
Finding funding and a location for the stadium is one of the group’s biggest priorities. With Dickerson’s bill on the table, there is a better sense of how the funding could potentially come together. More from The Tennessean:
“This just puts an MLS franchise, should we get one, on par with [the state’s other professional sports franchises],” Dickerson said. “The intention is to help fund or fray the cost of a stadium and encourage an MLS stadium to locate here.
“I think now is the time for Nashville to move into the professional soccer realm,” he added. “Whatever I can do to help within the scope of my General Assembly role, I’m all for it.”
The Tennessee General Assembly’s next legislative session kicks off in January.
The latest finalists revealed by the MLS, including Nashville, are for franchises 25-28. Expansion is going to take place in phases, with teams 25 and 26 expected to be playing by 2020 and the next pair of clubs debuting at a later date.
If Nashville can be included in the first wave of expansion, it will come up to two years after Nashville SC’s debut, which is set for 2018.
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