In a presentation on Monday, Nashville Metro mayor Megan Barry outlined plans for an MLS stadium in Nashville, while stressing the need to form a funding model.
As expected, Barry and MLS backers–including lead investor John Ingram and Nashville Steering Committee officials–are proposing that the stadium be built at The Fairgrounds Nashville. That announcement clarifies one uncertainty for Nashville’s MLS bid, as officials had spent the last several months mulling possible locations throughout the city.
The key issue now for any MLS stadium in Nashville is funding. Without delving into any broader specifics, Barry said that she wants to see a private/public partnership backing the stadium, with the funding model finalized by this summer. More from The Tennessean:
“Right now, we’re just focused on getting MLS excited about Nashville,” Barry said. “I would say that by the end of June we would have a much more comprehensive look at what this could be.
“I like our chances about getting a spot because I will tell you, everybody wants to be in Nashville and I think that will include MLS.”
Barry, Ingram and Nashville businessman Bill Hagerty, who organized the city’s MLS Steering Committee last year, are meeting with MLS officials at the league’s office in New York on Tuesday. That’s the deadline for 11 cities, including Nashville, that are competing for the four expansion spots to submit their expansion applications to the league.
Any stadium proposal for the fairgrounds would require approval from the Metro Council, Metro Board of Fair Commissioners and likely the Nashville Sports Authority.
There has certainly been a groundswell of support for the MLS, as Nashville has gradually built its case. The question from here will be timing, specifically if Nashville can successfully line up its case and secure funding. Applications to the league are due on Tuesday for the next two rounds of expansion. According to The Tennessean, Nashville is more likely to be in the mix for the league’s 27th and 28th spots–which will launch some time after 2020–though planners are not ruling out an earlier entry.
Photo of 2013 MLS All-Star Game by Brett Flanders via flickr.com.
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