Nashville officials have not signed any of the agreements they’ve made for an expensive Major League Soccer stadium, according to an attorney who says he’s studied the matter.
Attorney Jim Roberts told The Tennessee Star Saturday that he and other people fighting the stadium recently discovered this information in the past 30 days.
“None of these agreements have been signed. Everything about the soccer stadium is up in the air, and there is nothing in writing,” Roberts said.
“They have been lying for the last year about all these different agreements, and they don’t exist. Which means we can walk away from the deal.”
Roberts went on to say that now is “a golden opportunity to walk away from a bad deal with no penalty to taxpayers.” Major League Soccer players can instead have games at Nissan Stadium, where the Tennessee Titans play, Roberts said.
“I think there needs to be some pressure on (Nashville) Mayor John Cooper to admit how bad of a deal this is for Nashville and what a golden opportunity we have to have the soccer team play at Nissan Stadium, where we can have soccer. There is nothing stopping that,” Roberts said.
“It all dovetails into what a prudent public servant would say: ‘Let’s let this team play for a couple of years before we make a decision on whether to spend half a billion dollars on what might be a good idea.’”
A columnist opined last year that Nashville Metro Council members should save taxpayer money and arrange for the city’s MLS team to play in Nissan Stadium.
Eric Boehm published his column for Reason last year before Metro Council members voted 31-8 for a $275 million MLS stadium project at the Nashville Fairgrounds.
He said his idea, though, makes more sense.
“Taxpayers are already on the hook for $300 million in upgrades to Nissan Stadium, home of the National Football League’s Tennessee Titans. That stadium is within walking distance of downtown and could easily be adapted to host soccer games,” Boehm wrote.
“In fact, Nissan Stadium has regularly hosted the U.S. men’s and women’s national soccer teams. Teams from the English Premier League, widely regarded as the top soccer league in the world, have played there. It’s also one of the stadiums proposed as a site for the 2026 World Cup. Why exactly does the city need a new soccer-specific stadium?”
MLS officials, Boehm went on to say, will not consider expansion bids that don’t include soccer-specific stadiums as part of the plan.
“But the league has been happy to look the other way in places like Seattle and Atlanta, where soccer teams share NFL stadiums. Another MLS team plays in Yankee Stadium—awkwardly, since baseball fields and soccer fields are not really compatible—and the league allows that,” Boehm wrote.
“MLS has two overriding goals: To get as many deep-pocketed new owners as they can, and to get as many new stadiums as they can for those owners—preferably paid for as much as possible by somebody else.”
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