Nashville SC

Stadium deal reached, site demolition to begin immediately

From Club release:

NASHVILLE (Feb. 13, 2020) – Nashville Mayor John Cooper and Nashville Soccer Club lead owner John R. Ingram announced this morning that they have reached agreement on an amendment to the future Soccer Stadium to be built at the Fairgrounds Nashville. Under the terms of the revised deal, the team has agreed to fund 100 percent of stadium construction with private dollars through cash investment, stadium lease payments, and revenues generated at the stadium by attendees of events. The parties have agreed to a statement of principles including open space between the soccer stadium and the historic speedway. Metro has agreed to begin the demolition process immediately.

The revised deal eliminates taxpayer and budget burden for stadium construction while keeping in place the first Community Benefits Agreement in Tennessee.

“We are very happy to be moving forward with the stadium construction,” said John Ingram. “The investment we are making is not just for our soccer team, it is an investment in the future of Nashville and the Fairgrounds.”

“I’m so glad we’ve reached a better deal for Nashville. I’m grateful to Nashville Soccer Holdings and John Ingram for understanding our city’s financial realities and agreeing to pay up to $54 million in additional costs,” said Mayor Cooper. “This deal saves the taxpayers money and provides a better site plan for the Fairgrounds. Today is an exciting step forward for sports in Nashville and I’m ready for the first Nashville SC game on February 29th.”

The revised stadium deal consists of the following elements:

  • The Team will pay for infrastructure in the immediate vicinity of the stadium estimated to be $19 million.
  • The team will assume metro’s obligation to pay up to $35 Million toward lease payments.
  • The Team has agreed to a general statement of principles for parcel 8C in the 10 acre mixed-use development to account for an open plaza that can serve the operational needs of multiple Fairgrounds uses.
  • Metro has authorized initiation of the demolition contract and will proceed with the demolition process immediately.

Earlier this week Nashville SC launched the first season ticket member program for the club’s inaugural season in Major League Soccer, the First String MLS Founding Members. This select community will have the ability to enjoy life-long benefits as Nashville SC season ticket members and will be eternally etched in history with their names featured in the new Nashville SC Stadium.

Tickets to Nashville SC’s inaugural MLS match against Atlanta United FC, presented by Renasant Bank, are available through Season Ticket Memberships starting at just $425 ($25 per game) and through single game and group tickets. Be sure to secure your place in history with the best seats for Feb. 29 and throughout the inaugural season by visiting NashvilleSC.com/Tickets or calling 615-750-8800.

I’ve written enough “this saga is finally over” pieces to know that this isn’t necessarily the end-end, but it’s a huge step forward, and work on the site actually beginning is massive.

I’ve written about this enough generally (I haven’t added it all up, but probably approaching 10,000 words) to feel like a subject matter expert – and have gone to more Metro Council meetings, community engagement events, etc. than I ever thought I would when I decided to start a soccer blog.

This is a good deal for the city, but it’s been a good deal for the city. Cooper is going to crow that he Did A Business and got the city a better deal, and to a large extent that’s true. However, he also embarrassed the city (and made it look like a bad business partner) and himself in the process, and probably didn’t need to be quite the master non-negotiator he was throughout the process to get this done.

As I’ve encouraged many times during this ordeal, you can be happy about the stadium, but there’s no need to be rude to those who are equally passionate about something on the other side, just because you got your way. These are also human beings who care deeply about something, and – even if they were often disingenuous, dishonest, and downright dishonorable in the way they went about things – there’s no better time to be a good neighbor than when the neighborhood is getting the improvements you favored.

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