Nashville Council Amends, Passes Second Vote on $2.1 Billion Titans Stadium

by Jon Styf


The deal to build a new $2.1 billion Tennessee Titans stadium took another step toward happening early Wednesday morning when the deal was approved on second reading by a 25-11 vote during a Metro Nashville Council meeting that lasted into the morning.

A third and final reading is expected after a four-hour public hearing on the bill and the Nashville Needs Impact Fund starting at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday.

“This is a win-win,” Council member Robert Nash said. “The Titans have negotiated a good deal. It’s time to move forward.”

More than a handful of amendments from East Bank Stadium Committee Chair Bob Mendes failed at the meeting while an amendment to reverse a change approved at a meeting April 4 was approved.

During the meeting, Nashville Director of Legislative Affairs Mike Jameson called the prior amendment a deal breaker, saying the Titans could not afford it. Previously, he estimated that the amendment would send $470 million to Nashville’s general fund over 30 years through a 3% additional “team rent” on tickets sold to non-NFL events that would rise 1% per year until that and a $3 ticket tax were capped at 10%.

But Tuesday, he said it would be $360 million over 30 years while the replacement amendment, from Council member Jennifer Gamble, would send $120 million to the city’s general fund after Gamble’s bill was amended by Council member Freddie O’Connell.

“The impact of this amendment is to strip hundreds of millions of dollars from the general fund,” O’Connell said before the amendment passed 23-13.

The amended deal now includes additional Titans rent that is the greater of $3 per non-NFL event ticket or 3% but blocks the additional rent for many events, including all college athletics events like the Music City Bowl, Tennessee State football, University of Tennessee football, NCAA basketball tournament or SEC football championship games. It also blocks music events such as the Grammy’s, CMA Fest, Academy of Country Music events or WWE wrestling from the Titans additional rent payments.

“I thought for the first time we did something to benefit the taxpayers,” Council member Colby Sledge said. “… We are here negotiating ourselves out of hundreds of millions of dollars.”

Jameson, however, claimed the real amount earned from the previous amendment would have been $0, because the amendment was “fatal” to the mayor’s office’s deal with the Titans.

The deal includes a tax fund estimated to collect more than $3.1 billion over 30 years to pay $1.4 billion to pay off $760 million in Metropolitan Sports Authority along with funding future stadium and infrastructure costs.

The state of Tennessee is bonding $500 million for construction on the stadium while the Titans will contribute $840 million, including a $200 million NFL G-4 loan and proceeds from personal seat license sales at the new stadium, expected to be at least $270 million after current Nissan Stadium PSL holders are given credits toward the new PSLs.

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Jon Styf is an award-winning editor and reporter of The Center Square who has worked in Illinois, Texas, Wisconsin, Florida and Michigan in local newsrooms over the past 20 years, working for Shaw Media, Hearst and several other companies.




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