This leaked earlier in the morning via an e-mail to season ticket holders, but now it’s official. From club release:
NASHVILLE (May 16, 2019) – Nashville Soccer Club announced this morning that two of its 2019 USL Championship home matches will be played at its future temporary Major League Soccer home in Nissan Stadium. Matches on July 27, against Indy Eleven, and October 12, against North Carolina FC, will give fans a look at the future MLS club inside Nissan Stadium.
Last season, Nashville SC played two matches at Nissan Stadium, drawing over 18,000 fans to each match. Those two matches represented the two highest attendance totals in the USL Championship in 2018 outside of MLS-bound FC Cincinnati.
Both Indy Eleven and North Carolina FC, along with Nashville SC, are currently in playoff position in the USL Championship Eastern Conference.
The Indy game has always been an obvious option to be played in the larger venue, with the Eleven entering the season as the Eastern Conference favorite. North Carolina’s better-than-expected start to the season makes them a good choice, too – though with the Titans playing at home Oct. 6, there’s a chance we’ll see football lines on the pitch the following Saturday.
I’d love to see the club more aggressively market the Nissan games this year (like I wish they’d market more aggressively in general this season – though I understand the reasons to not pour a ton of money into it with MLS’s arrival a major game-changer in the next nine months in terms of public perception). The attendance was 18,922 in the season-opener against Pittsburgh Riverhounds and 18,228 in the July 7 match against FC Cincinnati last season.
The lower bowl can hold approximately 27,500 and 40,200 including all club seats outside of the upper decks. Not hitting the former number for either or both would be a disappointment to me, like it was last year. That was a failure of marketing, in my eyes, but even more so pricing. Is there more value for Nashville SC in making an extra four bucks per ticket, or getting the positive buzz of a fuller stadium in their showpiece games? They certainly leaned toward the former last year, I believe incorrectly, and with prices ranging from $12-27 they’ve shaved a few bucks off the get-in price, at least (it was $15 in 2018).
Attendance at First Tennessee Park has taken a major dip compare to last year, and while there are many reasons both inside and outside anyone’s control (lack of shiny new thing vibes, early-season weather, unfortunate scheduling up against other events in town), this is an opportunity to recapture the buzz for the USL team – and I think too often overlooked, build fan connection with the team that can carry over into the MLS days.
For Nissan Stadium specifically, it can get fans acclimated to what will be NSC’s home venue for the first two years of Major League Soccer play, as well.