Nashville stadium debate looms
MLS hints at potential price tag

As the Nashville Major League Soccer Organizing Committee readies to submit its application for a franchise by MLS’s Jan. 31 deadline, one of the most important things it must figure out is where the franchise would play.

The committee, led by former Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bill Hagerty and his colleague Will Alexander, has recently been working with Metro officials on a deal to build a new stadium the team could use.

As Nashville prepares for that arrangement to be revealed, the St. Louis Business Journal took a look at the price tags for recent stadium deals across the MLS. Here’s what they found:

The five most recent MLS-specific stadium projects have been financed mostly by private dollars, with 37% being the largest burden a city has agreed to bear.

Of the five projects, three are using little to no direct public funding for stadiums bearing price tags of $150 million, $250 million and $100 million. So far in Minnesota, for instance, the state has granted the group building a stadium for Minnesota United FC $1.55 million, which represents about one percent of the stadium’s proposed cost. Each stadium is set to be owned by the local franchises.

The other two stadiums are in Orlando (which opened in 2015) and Houston (which opened in 2012). In Orlando, the public is paying for 9.6% of the $156 million stadium, which is owned by the team. In Houston, the public is paying for 36.8% of the $95 million stadium, which is owned by the county.

In St. Louis, the group trying to land an MLS franchise is asking for $120 million in tax dollars to pay for 60% of a $200 million stadium the city would own.

D.C. United is in the process of proposing a new $300 million stadium in the nation’s capital that would be 46.3% funded by the public, or a $138.8 million tab.

Of the 16 soccer-specific stadiums built for the 22-team league since 2006, just four have required public financing to cover more than 60% of the cost of the stadiums.

The largest public contributions came in Toronto and Kansas City, where area taxpayers put up $166.5 million for a stadium now owned by the province and $162.6 million for a stadium now owned by the team, respectively.