The likelihood of Nashville getting a Major League Soccer franchise increased on Tuesday night. The Metropolitan City Council overwhelmingly approved the 275 million stadium project by a 31-6 vote, with two abstentions.
The council voted to authorize the Metropolitan Sports Authority to issue up to $225 million in revenue bonds to build a new soccer stadium on the condition of Nashville being awarded a Major League Soccer franchise.
A Nashville investor group, MLS2Nashville, headed by John Ingram plans to bid for a Major League Soccer expansion franchise in Music City, and said that building a new stadium is key.
“This is a great night for Nashville! It’s been a long road as we started this process almost a year ago and so many Nashvillians have been a part of making it happen,” said Ingram in a statement following the vote. “From Mayor Barry’s leadership, to soccer fans and parents from all parts of our city, and now tonight with our Metro Council, the vision to bring Major League Soccer to our city moves one step closer. Of course the final decision on the team won’t be ours, but tonight Nashville checked off the final item that MLS needed to see. I’m always proud of this city, and tonight we’ve shown – once again – how we all come together around something important to make Nashville the best it can be.”
Mayor Megan Barry also approved of the passage stating shortly after that, “the Metro Council should be applauded for joining the majority of Nashvillians who say YES to Major League Soccer in Nashville. Their vote tonight puts Nashville in a very strong position to be awarded a franchise later this year by MLS.”
The vote is only the first step. The plan also calls for the gifting of 10 acres to another investor group, MarketStreet Enterprises that will be used for a hotel, housing and retail. Many of the same council members who voted for the bonds are expressing skepticism for the zoning and gifting of land that investors say will have to take place in order to make the venture profitable.