This article was originally written by a Belmont University professor named Stephen Shin. Below are the words he described as Nashville officially received a bid for an MLS team:
Major League Soccer (MLS) commissioner Don Garber announced on Wednesday, December 20, 2017, that the city of Nashville was chosen to host the 24th MLS team upon the league’s expansion plan – this will be the third major sport franchise following the Nashville Predators and Tennessee Titans. It was surprising but delightful news not only for soccer fans but also for local residents who are expecting to either directly or indirectly benefit from the new franchise, Nashville Soccer Club (NSC) and the prospective soccer stadium down the road.
Nashville SC’s vision states that the club “unifies the diverse communities of Nashville with our global sport.” Soccer is more than just a sport – it is a tool that has the power to both embrace cultural gaps and blurs color lines. In order to nurture Nashville’s growing diversity and to promote a diverse ethnic and cultural environment, multicultural marketing approaches should be utilized to target not only Hispanic and Latinos, but also other minority ethnic groups here in Davidson County and Middle Tennessee.
Another vision of NSC is to commit to building a club that “represents all Nashvillians” and a club that can serve as “a positive ambassador for our city internationally.” The Nashville Metro Council approved $225 million in revenue bonds for the new soccer-specific stadium. Characterized by user pay philosophy and equity principle of revenue bonds, the NSC ownership group has been regarded as a positive example by not putting too much financial burden on the local taxpayers. Previously, the Nissan Stadium and Bridgestone Arena were majorly funded by public financing through the issuing of general obligation bonds which were backed by secured sales and property taxes collected outside of the facilities. Additionally, the new soccer stadium would be a great opportunity for global companies rooted or headquartered in Nashville and Middle Tennessee to bid their names on the stadium as a naming rights partner.
The next vision of Nashville SC is to “act and be seen as a positive asset to the community.” The new stadium can be a catalyst for revitalizing the fairgrounds and neighboring areas for local businesses like small shops, restaurants, gas stations, etc. Compared to huge football venues, a multipurpose mid-sized stadium can better host diverse events to accommodate both sport fans and non-sport fans. The presence of a new stadium is also expected to attract more out of town visitors who can stimulate the local economy. In terms of the rationale of the economic impact study, it is important to see net economic changes on residents’ household income and employment in a host community resulting from sport events and the facility.
Fitting to Nashville SC’s motto “Our Town and Our Club,” the 24th MLS franchise will increase civic pride and psychic income among Nashville soccer fans and surely the feeling will be quite intense during the Nashville SC’s inaugural season at the new stadium. Along with the non-economic impact, it is expected with hope that the city’s fairgrounds will be a “Fair Grounds” offering economic benefits to Nashville residents, especially the underprivileged and immigrant ethnic groups who can freely and proudly call Nashville their home sweet home.
Although that plan has been “temporarily halted” with the recent resignation of Mayor Megan Berry.
Regardless of where the stadium will be located, Nashville is eager and ready to welcome its new team home.