Governor Bill Lee is said to be asking the Tennessee General Assembly to issue $500 million in bonds to help fund a new Tennessee Titans stadium.
First reported by Axios, Governor Lee wants the General Assembly to approve $500 million in bonds, which would be issued by the state and likely repaid by revenue from the new stadium.
Axios did not identify a source for the information in their article. The Tennessee Star reached out to Axios for clarification but did not receive a response as of publication.
$500 million would likely only cover part of the money needed to build a new stadium. Some estimates have a new Titans facility costing nearly $2 billion. The state previously kicked in $67 million for the construction of Nissan Stadium – $55 million in construction bonds and $12 million for road improvements.
The Star has reached out to Governor Bill Lee’s office for comment on his proposal but has not received a response as of press time.
If a deal similar to the one that resulted in the construction of Nissan Stadium is reached, it remains unclear if and how much Nashville’s taxpayers would pay. The Star reported that Nashville Mayor John Cooper’s office previously left the door open on the utilization of Davidson County taxpayer funding for a new Titans stadium to replace Metro Nashville-owned Nissan Stadium.
The state bonds are reportedly contingent on Nashville reaching an agreement with the Tennessee Titans on a financing package.
Metro Nashville owns Nissan Stadium and the Titans have a 30-year lease which started in 1999.
Nashville taxpayer funds used for Nissan Stadium topped $144 million and there was an additional guarantee of $70 million in net sales of personal seat licenses.
There’s reportedly a major requirement on the state’s side of the proposed financing deal; the money would have to go to an enclosed stadium similar to other new NFL stadiums, not simply an open-air stadium. The Titans consider renovations to Nissan Stadium to be out of the question.
Many proponents for the taxpayer funding of a new Tennessee Titans stadium point to the additional tax revenue that could be brought and the potential for big-money events like the Super Bowl coming to Nashville.
A similar argument is the potential for direct economic impact to Nashville and the surrounding area.
The Star previously reported that in 1997 former Nashville Mayor Phil Bredesen admitted that direct economic impact benefits couldn’t justify taxpayer funding for a football stadium.
Bredesen said in June 1997, “I can’t justify building a football stadium on direct economic impact. The professors who make a living pooh-poohing that are right. But there are a lot of intangible benefits that make it more than easy to do.”
– – –