Nissan Stadium lease deal ‘burdensome’


High renovation costs for new Titans stadium Image: Tennessee Titans

It would cost Metro $1.8 billion through 2039 to fulfill its obligations to the Tennessee Titans under the current lease agreement at Nissan Stadium, according to a report the team presented to the Sports Authority recently.

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 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 Tennessee State University.

Why it matters:

The ‘Axios’ stated that the obligation of the current lease deal is a crucial comparison because the Titans and Mayor of Metropolitan Nashville, John Cooper, are negotiating a deal to build a new enclosed stadium next to Nissan.

  • Cooper said recently that the current lease deal is too burdensome for Metro and a new arrangement – one that removes the long-term financial obligation without tapping the City’s general fund – is in order.


By the numbers:

The ‘Axios’ further stated that according to the Titans’ report, Metro’s total obligation is divided between $945 million – to renovate Nissan Stadium and reimburse the franchise for capital costs it has already incurred – and the $894 million it would owe to maintain the stadium through the end of the lease.

  • A provision of the lease requires the stadium to be kept in a condition similar to other sports venues built around the same time; and
  • The report was produced by consultants for the Titans at the Sports Authority’s request.


Yes, but:

Metro Council Member Bob Mendes suggested the Cooper administration should consider funding its own study to determine if the Titans’ estimate is accurate.

  • Cooper spokesperson TJ Ducklo stated, “We have no plans to commission another study to tell us what we already know: Renovating the stadium would cost Nashvillians hundreds of millions of dollars.”


What he’s saying:

Titans head honcho Burke Nihill stated that the team is confident in the estimate.

  • Even if another study produced a different dollar figure, Nihill says the conclusion would be the same: “The Sports Authority is facing a large unfunded obligation under the current lease.”



Cooper’s administration filed the capital improvement budget last week estimating a new stadium will cost up to $2.2 billion.

  • Cooper says the stadium will be paid for with sales tax revenue produced by fans attending the games and hotel taxes paid by tourists visiting Nashville;
  • By comparison, there is no funding stream to cover the vast majority of the current lease obligations, which are paid out of the City’s general fund; and
  • The Titans, along with the NFL, are expected to contribute in the neighborhood of $700 million. And Governor Bill Lee’s budget that passed this legislative session included $500 million in bonds toward a new stadium.

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