Nashville Officially Submits Bid For Major League Soccer Team | Nashville Public Radio

Nashville Officially Submits Bid For Major League Soccer Team

Jan 31, 2017

Now Nashville waits.

Mayor Megan Barry joined investors who want a Major League Soccer team in town as they hand-delivered their formal bid. They arrived in New York to meet briefly with the MLS president.

Mayor Barry says she made the case that Nashville is a growing international market that has a hungry soccer fan base. A hype video they put together points to attendance at some of the matches that have been played at Nissan Stadium.

Barry also highlighted the potential site of a new stadium at the Nashville Fairgrounds. State Sen. Steve Dickerson, R-Nashville, has introduced legislation that would divert sales tax revenue generated by the team to help pay for a stadium, though Barry wants investors to pay for most of it.

"When I talk about this in the form of what we have to do, it’s in the form of a private-public partnership," she said while speaking to the Nashville Rotary Club Monday. "Emphasis on the word 'private.' Because we have a lot of things to pay for. So the private sector is going to have to show up for this."

The mayor says the fairgrounds is an ideal location because the city owns the land and it would be along a bus line. She also notes the stadium is part of the site’s overall revitalization plan, which includes upgrading facilities and pursuing a long-term car racing contract.

MLS is granting four expansion team spots between now and 2018. Soccer insiders say Nashville remains a long shot.

Businessman John Ingram is the lead investor for the soccer team bid. He's joined by Tennessee's former economic development chief, Bill Hagerty, who is likely to become President Trump's ambassador to Japan.