A prospective ownership group trying to bring an MLS team to Nashville has unveiled preliminary designs for a new 30,000-seat stadium.
At a meeting of Nashville’s Metro Council meeting on Monday night, Nashville Soccer Club Holdings, led by John Ingram, presented plans for the venue to be built at the Fairgrounds Nashville site in the Wedgewood-Houston neighborhood.
Nashville is one of 12 locations vying to win an expansion franchise from the league, which plans to announce two new teams this year with another two to follow.
MLS has stressed the importance of a soccer-specific stadium to the success of any bid, and Ingram said his group’s plans for a 500,000 square-foot venue “represents a great partnership between our MLS-in-Nashville group and the city,” according to The Tennessean.
The mayor’s Chief Operating Officer, Rich Riebeling, told the council his office hoped to have financing talks completed within two months, and said legislation could be filed by October—an aggressive timeline designed to attract MLS this year.
However, he warned that any plan to bring an MLS team to Music City “has got to minimize the impact to the taxpayers.” The council would have to sign off on the funding, as would the Metro Nashville Sports Authority and Metro Board of Fair Commissioners.
The stadium plan was designed by architectural firm HOK and includes additional buildings for fairgrounds use as well as a new transit hub. Talks about the final cost remain ongoing, Ingram said.
Vanderbilt University’s vice chancellor, David Williams, said on Monday that the school remains interested in a shared stadium, but that the capacity would need to be able expand to 33,000-35,000 as needed—a possibility in HOK’s design.
MLS commissioner Don Garber visited Nashville earlier this summer, and the city then hosted more than 100,000 fans at the NFL’s Nissan Stadium for a United States game during the CONCACAF Gold Cup, and Manchester City-Tottenham in the International Champions Cup.
Ingram’s group, which plans to start a USL team next year, also announced last week that the Wilf family, the majority owners of the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings, was also joining its bid.