GEODIS Park opens Sunday as the new home of Nashville SC. Here’s what the community can expect from the largest soccer-specific stadium in Major League Soccer history and one built to host a wide variety of concerts and events, courtesy of Nashville SC CEO Ian Ayre.
Featuring five locker rooms, a large 65-foot-wide concourse to create an open and accessible experience, a wide variety of concessions and a 360-degree canopy covering 150,000 square feet on the west sidelines.
The new stadium will not only be home of the Boys in Gold, but it’s also a concert-ready venue capable of hosting a wide variety of events—an important design consideration in the Music City. The MLS debut is Sunday, but GEODIS Park is already hosting a wide variety of events.
We submitted the following questions to Ayre:
You’re opening the largest soccer-specific stadium in MLS. Conventional wisdom in the past said the sweet spot in capacity was in the low- to mid-20,000s, as seen in Allianz Field (19,400, but expandable), Q2 Stadium (20,700), TQL Stadium (26,000) and Centene Stadium (22,500). What led to the decision to build the largest MLS-specific stadium—market research? Total faith in the marketplace and your product? Experience at Nissan Stadium?
“We always felt that we should build for where we want to be and where MLS is heading, so we chose to build for that. I think it shows our ambition and commitment. Right now, we have almost 22,000 season tickets sold, so at 20,000, we would be letting people down. It feels like an inspired decision, and we will work hard to continue to sell out games.”
Speaking of Nissan Stadium: You’re moving from a tenant situation to running your own facility. What sort of challenges did you foresee in making this move—expanded staffing, hiring new ops management? Any unexpected challenges along the way?
“This was always part of our plan, and of course a new venue brings new opportunities. More staff and some excellent career opportunities for local people, more ability to support our commercial partners, and most importantly a home venue that our fans and players can make their home, which is never the same as a tenant.”
How many non-soccer events are you anticipating annually?
“That’s an impossible question, because the stadium has been designed for other major sporting events and concerts, but also for a very wide range of private events that can be held in four large, themed club facilities of 900 attendees, two of 650 and one of 250. We already have events going on daily and expect to grow that to maximize the use of GEODIS Park.”
You will feature a wide variety of seating operations, including the standing sections and supporters areas. What would you consider to be the signature seating areas of the stadium?
“The entire venue was designed to give people choices at all price points:
- Family section
- All-standing supporter section
- GEODIS WeHo Club—music themed lounge
- Lo Siento Goal Post Club—sports-themed lounge
- Valkyrie Premier Club—VIP level lounge
- C-Spire Captains Club—Intimate dining and seating lounge
In addition, 28 private suites, a large party suite and two viewing terraces.”
With Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway potentially reopening and expanded, will that affect your operations at all?
“No, it makes no difference to us. We will be a good neighbor to whomever is at the Fairgrounds. It’s an excellent site, and we are very happy to be part of this fast-growing neighborhood.”