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Features

Tennessee’s Governor proposes $500m for new Titans stadium

The Tennessee Titans’ vision of developing a new stadium has received a boost after Bill Lee, Governor of Tennessee, gave his backing for a $500m (£380.5m/€448.4m) funding package for the NFL American football franchise’s project.

Lee yesterday (Tuesday) issued a request to state lawmakers, asking for $500m in bonds for the Titans’ stadium. The Tennessean newspaper said the stadium funding is contingent on its final design including a roof, which would aid the city in hosting Super Bowls, NCAA Final Four games and other major indoor events.

The Titans and Nashville officials would also need to agree a deal to finance the rest of the stadium. As news of Lee’s intentions first emerged on Monday, the office of Nashville Mayor John Cooper released a statement which read: “We appreciate and welcome the Governor’s willingness to make this potential investment in Nashville.

“For the last 20 years we’ve loved hosting the Tennessee Titans under the original lease, and that first lease now obligates us to provide and maintain a first-class stadium.

“Mayor Cooper is committed to two goals: keeping the Titans in Nashville for generations to come, and doing that in a way that does not divert tax dollars from education, affordable housing, infrastructure, or other general fund obligations. We are continuing to study stadium options that allow us to do both.”

Tennessee Finance and Administration Commissioner, Butch Eley, is said to have told Senate lawmakers yesterday that the state’s proposed contribution is based on stadium deals struck for the Buffalo Bills and Las Vegas Raiders.

Nevada contributed $750m towards the Raiders’ $2bn Allegiant Stadium, while a stadium deal was struck for the Bills on Monday. The Bills reached an agreement with New York State and Erie County to build a new $1.4bn stadium in Orchard Park.

New York Governor Kathy Hochul secured a 30-year commitment for the Bills to remain in Buffalo. New York State will commit $600m towards the new stadium project, with Erie County to provide $250m. The NFL and the Bills will provide the remaining $550m needed to build the new stadium, which could be finished as early as 2026.

The Titans have recently changed course on their stadium ambitions. Talks over a major redevelopment for Nissan Stadium, the team’s current home, last month switched to a potential new stadium after the price tag for the initial project reportedly doubled in cost to at least $1.2bn.

The news came after the Titans in January spelled out its vision for a new-look Nissan Stadium, with an agreement reportedly set to be finalised to finance an overhaul of the venue, along with a new mixed-use district.

Titans president, Burke Nihill, this month presented his vision to the Metro Sports Authority for a new stadium surrounded by a neighbourhood designed to cater to local residents rather than tourists.

Image: Jo Naylor/CC BY 2.0/Edited for size