Leaders in Nashville approved a lot of public financing for a new dome for the Titans and other uses:
The Metro Nashville City Council approved by a 26-12 vote early Wednesday morning on the final reading to allow its sports authority to issue $760 million in bonds. That combines with $500 million in state bonds for more than $1.2 billion in public financing committed to the Titans’ enclosed stadium…
The stadium’s total cost is estimated at $2.1 billion. The Titans, with help from the NFL and personal seat licenses, will provide the remaining $840 million. The new stadium will feature a translucent roof with a capacity of approximately 60,000.
This stadium will allow Nashville and the Titans to bid for a Super Bowl, Final Fours, College Football Playoff games and more. Burke Nihill, the Titans’ president and CEO, said they are excited at the chance to host some of the world’s best events…
A new 1% hotel/motel tax, all of in-stadium sales tax and 50% of sales taxes from 130 acres around the stadium will pay off the bonds. The Titans and city officials announced an agreement in December that includes a new 30-year lease. The team agreed not to leave Nashville during that lease.
If I am reading this correctly:
- More than half of the costs of the stadium are coming through public financing.
- A number of new revenue sources – hotel tax, sales taxes from the stadium and the surrounding property – will pay off the bonds.
- The city thinks this deal will be good because it keeps the team and allows for additional events in Nashville.
My question: who benefits the most from this arrangement? The Titans and their owners. One source has them valued at $3.5 billion August 2022. This puts them toward the bottom of the NFL rankings. A new stadium boosts their value.
Research shows that while political and business leaders tout the advantages of new stadiums (jobs, status, energy, events, tourists, etc.), the money spent at the stadium would be spent elsewhere in Nashville. The city already has a lot going for it. The Titans and the stadium are part of the scene but they are relatively new in the city and there are plenty of other entertainment and tourist options for residents and visitors. Were the Titans really going to leave? (Of course, this is a team that left their previous city…)
But, the NFL generally gets what it wants for its owners. Nashville will try to sell this as a win for the city and region but the ultimate winners are the team owners.