Titans working on ‘exceptional’ plans for Nissan Stadium

NFL American football franchise the Tennessee Titans has spelled out its vision for a new-look Nissan Stadium, with an agreement reportedly set to be finalised in the coming months to finance an overhaul of the venue, along with a new mixed-use district.

Nissan Stadium, owned by the Metro Sports Authority, opened in 1999 and has been the home of the Titans ever since. Plans currently being drawn up outline an investment of up to $600m (£442.9m/€530.9m) in stadium upgrades over three seasons, according to The Tennessean newspaper.

Nissan Stadium would also be accompanied by a new neighbourhood and entertainment district, including enhanced transit connections and parks. Titans president, Burke Nihill, said “every corner” of the 69,000-capacity stadium is being considered for upgrades.

He continued: “I think if either the city or the Titans were pushing for something more basic we would’ve been done with this a long time ago. But we’re pushing for something that’s exceptional. Our highest priority is to win the Super Bowl, but this is the top priority behind that.”

The Titans’ current lease on Nissan Stadium is up in 2028, with a budget deficit and COVID-19 related issues said to have delayed the local authority in engaging in maintenance projects over recent years.

However, a deal is expected to be completed in the coming months to finance the stadium redevelopment and mixed-use scheme without relying on general taxpayer funds. The Tennessean said Metro Sports Authority could issue $300m in bonds to be repaid with local and state taxes from the district. The Titans will then put up another $300m, along with other private investors developing in the district.

“It’s going to be important to present to the community a stadium-solve which allows us to not only keep the team and to have a Super Bowl, but that has no burden on the general taxpayer,” said Nashville’s Mayor, John Cooper. “A lot of the work that’s been going on is then creating Nashville’s next great neighbourhood around the stadium.”

A new lease deal is also expected to be confirmed in the coming months, with The Tennessean stating that design plans for the new district are expected to include a large reserve for parks and connected walking paths; and an “activated riverfront” with boat docks, waterside dining and canoe launches.

In terms of Nissan Stadium itself, priorities are expected to include a variety of stadium lounge experiences; technology and infrastructure upgrades; an overhaul of the concessions offering; and making the venue easier to repurpose for concerts and other events. However, the addition of a roof is not in the current thinking as this would cost an additional $400m.

“We’re trying to create a sense of place,” said Nihill. “This isn’t just a simple stadium deal, this is something where we’re trying to take a current stadium lease that is antiquated and doesn’t work for the city or the team — we’re trying to find a really elegant solution that delivers a great result for the citizens of Nashville in terms of building to world-class standards.”

In December 2020, the Titans were said to be in advanced conversations with Nashville authorities concerning the redevelopment of a large area adjacent to Nissan Stadium. The two parties said the discussions aimed to secure the Titans’ future in Nashville and facilitate the creation of a new neighbourhood surrounding the facility.

The team said that while preliminary talks between the Titans and previous administrations had taken place over several years, Cooper’s current administration had advanced the conversations to create the framework of a solution beneficial to all parties.

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