Nashville’s $275 million MLS stadium approved

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Nashville Soccer Club’s soccer-specific stadium has been given the green light.

Late Tuesday the Metro Council gave final approval for the $275 million stadium at Fairgrounds Nashville, as the vote won by a 31-8 margin to get work going south of downtown Nashville.

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After Nashville were awarded an MLS expansion franchise in November 2017, majority owner John Ingram and his group have pushed hard to seal the stadium deal. Ingram, a billionaire businessman, has been successful in making it happen with Mayor David Briley backing the deal heavily.

With some political changes in Tennessee’s capital city over recent months it has proved a little trickier than first through, but a complex deal has now been approved to fund the stadium development as housing, retail and hotel facilities will also be built on the Fairgrounds site.

Below is a little more detail from the Tennessean.com on exactly how this stadium deal will work financially.

Under the stadium plan, the city would pay $225 million in revenue bonds for the stadium while the team would would chip in an initial $25 million capital contribution. The team has committed to cover all cost overruns, and separately is tasked with covering a $150 million expansion fee with MLS.

Under a 30-year stadium lease agreement, the Ingram-led ownership group would pay around $9 million annually to help retire an estimated $13 million in annual debt.

Metro has guaranteed at least $4 million from sales tax revenue collected at the stadium and a $1.75 ticket tax, but the city would be on the hook if those streams don’t create the expected amount.

The 99-year ground lease for the 10-acre development calls for the ownership club to pay a minimum of $200,000 annually for the first 30 years, at which point the amount would escalate, totaling at least $22.8 million over the entire 99 years.

Nashville SC is expected to move into this stadium in February 2021, with the club to arrive in MLS for the 2020 season and play their inaugural season at Nissan Stadium, home of the NFL’s Tennessee Titans.