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Finance

Nashville says Tennessee Titans must pay for the bulk of stadium project

Featured image credit: Gabriel Tovar on Unsplash

Nashville authorities have vowed that Tennessee Titans and private sources must be the largest funder of the National Football League (NFL) team’s stadium project.

Nashville Metro Council met on Wednesday to discuss the Titans’ stadium plans, but while there was little in the way of concrete developments or financial figures, the authority was able to discuss Mayor John Cooper’s priorities for a stadium deal, the city’s debt management strategy, specific stadium financing considerations and the council approval process.

Neither Mayor Cooper or Titans representatives were present at the meeting, but Deputy Mayor Sam Wilcox and Finance Director Kelly Flannery did attend.

In a document presented to the meeting, the Metro’s guiding principles for the stadium project include reducing the burden on Metro’s General Fund and Water/Sewer ratepayers. It also seeks to leverage tourism and stadium-related funding sources to support Metro’s contribution to stadium construction and maintenance.

The document added that the team will be required to fund any stadium construction cost overruns. Another priority is to eliminate the unfunded stadium capital maintenance liability leverage contributions from the state to fund stadium construction, with private sources being the largest single contributor.

Metro should retain ownership of all stadium and campus property and activate the surrounding campus in a manner that prioritises affordable housing, multimodal transportation, and greenspace.

A stadium solution should generate significant economic activity and benefits for Nashville. The Metro’s final stated objective is to keep the NFL in Nashville for the long term.

Financing goals include leveraging primary stadium funding sources to maximise a revenue only debt structure, sufficiency of revenues, and stability and predictability of revenues.

Metro also wants to ensure credit quality and minimise interest cost, and identify sufficient funding source to eliminate its existing ongoing capital unfunded responsibility maintenance.

Deputy Mayor Sam Wilcox told reporters: “While we are not prepared to share final numbers today, what we are committed to is that the Titans and private sources will be the single-largest funder of the stadium project.”

The Titans had initially assessed the redevelopment of Nissan Stadium, but, in May, selected Manica Architecture to draw up design concepts for its proposed new stadium.

It was reported earlier this year that a new Titans stadium would cost between $1.9bn (£1.5bn/€1.8bn) and $2.2bn, and could be completed by the 2026 NFL season. The team is poised to secure $500m in funding for the stadium after the state budget was approved in April.

This came after Tennessee Governor Bill Lee had earlier given his backing for a $500m funding package, which is reportedly contingent on the stadium’s final design including a roof to aid the city in hosting Super Bowls, NCAA Final Four games and other major indoor events.

Any new stadium is expected to take 31 months to build, with officials also planning for a $4bn public-private project that would lead to the development of a new neighbourhood surrounding the venue.

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