Nashville SC made history in its first MLS match Saturday, setting a new state attendance record by welcoming over 59,000 fans to Nissan Stadium.
One of two MLS expansion clubs beginning play this season, Nashville SC hosted Atlanta United FC in its first match. While the game ended in a 2-1 defeat, Nashville still had a memorable night by playing its MLS debut in front of 59,069 fans.
All indications leading up Saturday were that the club’s MLS debut would be played before a packed house, but the attendance figure ended up being significant by setting a new record for attendance at a soccer game played in Tennessee. With 59,069 fans on hand, Nashville SC easily shattered the previous record of 56,232 that saw Manchester City and Tottenham square off at Nissan Stadium in July 2017.
For MLS officials and Nashville SC players, the particularly energetic atmosphere at Nissan Stadium made for a memorable night. More from MLSSoccer.com:
“I’ve been to a few I’ve these opening games,” MLS commissioner Don Garber told media. “For me, this is one of the most exciting. I literally got chills during the pregame ceremony.”
That ceremony included a pregame concert from Nashville’s Judah and The Lion and it featured the new Nashville SC anthem, an excellently country rendition of the national anthem and an “opening guitar riff” from Lzzy Hale that even earned praise from visiting fans.
It was a show and the fans showed out in return.
“Amazing atmosphere from them,” Nashville SC center back and first goal-scorer in team history, Walker Zimmerman said.” It was fun watching the anthem as we were sitting in a tunnel and just watching the crowd singing that and getting involved and that’s only going to grow.
Just how the season plays out in terms of attendance for Nashville SC remains to be seen, though Saturday night certainly marked an excellent start. A successful inaugural year would not only be a boost to Nashville SC as it plans its future, which will include the opening of a new soccer-specific stadium at The Fairgrounds Nashville in the coming years, but also give MLS as a whole momentum by adding to a Southeast contingent of teams that already includes successful clubs like Atlanta and Orlando City SC, and also sees the debut of Miami this year.
Nashville SC is joined by Inter Miami CF among the expansion clubs beginning MLS play this season, bringing the league to 26 teams. Miami was defeated 1-0 in its debut at Los Angeles FC on Sunday and is slated to play its home opener in Fort Lauderdale on March 14.
Image courtesy Nashville SC.