Metro Council to review Titans’ stadium deal


Agreement reached for new Titans stadium Image: Tennessee Titans & Manica Architecture

Nashville Mayor (US) John Cooper’s office filed a legislation recently outlining updated details for the National Football League team Tennessee Titan’s stadium deal ahead of a Metro Council review.

‘THE TENNESSEAN’ stated that the definitive documents filed recently are scheduled to go before the Council for consideration on March 7th. The legislation will require three readings.

The Tennessee Titans are a professional American football team based in Nashville, Tennessee (US). The Titans compete in the National Football League (NFL) as a member club of the American Football Conference (AFC) South division, and play their home games at the Nissan Stadium.

The 69,143-capacity Nissan Stadium is a multipurpose stadium in Nashville, Tennessee, United States. Owned by the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County, it is primarily used for football and is the home field of the Tennessee Titans of the National Football League (NFL) and the Tigers of the Tennessee State University.

The Titans are planning a new, domed stadium to be built next to where the existing stadium stands today.

Stated Cooper, “I’m proud of this deal because it eliminates the enormous liability hanging over the City and returns valuable land back to the Metro so that we can build new affordable housing, beautiful parks and greenways, a powerful transit hub that reconnects neighborhoods and so much more. This is a win for Nashville, and I’m grateful to our partners at the State and the entire team who have worked tirelessly for over a year to get it done.”

‘THE TENNESSEAN’ further stated that the Metro Council previously approved preliminary terms for the stadium deal by a vote of 27-8 with three abstentions. The Council also passed a key Bill allowing the City to begin collecting an increased hotel tax – but only if and when final deal terms for the stadium deal are reached and approved.

The Bill authorizing a one percent hotel tax increase passed 27-5 with three abstentions.

According to the proposal, new stadium construction would rely on about $1.26 billion in revenue bonds, sales and hotel tax diversions and State contributions, making it the largest public spend on an NFL stadium to date. About $840 million would come from private funding sources, including the team. NFL loans and grants and personal seat license (PSL) sales will contribute $200 million.

A personal seat license, or PSL, is a paid license that entitles the holder to the right to buy season tickets for a certain seat in a stadium. This holder can sell the seat license to someone else if they no longer wish to purchase season tickets.

Stated Titans President and head honcho Burke Nihill, “We are extremely appreciative of the efforts of Mayor Cooper and his office over the past several months as we worked to complete definitive documents. We believe these documents embody the core principles we presented in December last year and look forward to our upcoming discussions with the Metro Council and the Sports Authority.”

The Metropolitan Council is the legislative authority of the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County, a City-county consolidated Government created on April 1st, 1963.

The Tennessee Sports Authority is Tennessee’s only comprehensive multimedia platform that features Tennessee-based collegiate and professional sports.

At-large Council Member Bob Mendes, a vocal opponent of the plan to build a new stadium, said that he won’t comment on the new legislation until he reviews the hundreds of pages of legal documents included in the package.

What is Different about the Legislation Filed this Week?

The proposed final agreement filed incorporates feedback from the Metro Council and community members, according to a news release from the Mayor’s office. It also provides key details in the form of development and lease agreements.

The final agreement added street and plaza infrastructure to be covered by the Titans, in addition to infrastructure required to open the new stadium, which was included in the original proposal.

The new proposal said excess revenue generated by the sources used to repay Sports Authority bonds may now be used to fund additional debt service reserves or to prepay portions of the bonds early, thereby reducing the interest costs. This adds financial flexibility to Metro’s end of the deal, according to the Mayor’s office.

According to the new proposal, the team agrees to front costs associated with maintaining functionality at the Nissan Stadium until the new stadium is built. The Metro will reimburse the team up to $42 million through revenue sources such as cash from the Sports Authority or sales tax from personal seat licenses. The Metro’s maximum contribution is capped at that amount.

In response to an amendment in the term sheet resolution, passed in December, the Titans will create the Nashville Needs Impact Fund, to which the team will contribute at least $47 million. This fund can be used by nonprofits serving Nashville and the Davidson County for public education, public transit, gender equity in sports, and affordable housing.

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