If the Titans & Nashville have agreed on a new stadium, why are there so many financial questions left unresolved?

If someone were to look at this deal the way that the Mayor and Titans present it, they would be left wondering why anyone would oppose this new stadium. It sounds like a great economical engine and the public won’t see a single cent spent on it.

Except….virtually all of this is a fairy tale. Let’s mention the city saving $2 billion for future upgrades to the city. The Titans argue that since their current lease ends in 2039 and the lease includes a clause that the stadium must be “first-class”, this would save the city from almost $2 billion in upgrades for future years. Who came up with this number? That would be the Titans CEO.

But why would the city be expected to agree to all of those future upgrades? Even with the “first-class” language included in the lease, that doesn’t mean a stadium must have every single upgrade requested by the team.

The chairman of the East Bank Stadium Committee stated this clearly:

There is no credible argument that Metro’s obligation under the current stadium lease is anything close to $1.8 billion. Instead, that number is the price of a super-extravagant set of stadium improvements preferred by the team that are well beyond anything required under the current lease.

– Bob Mendes, 02/14/23

Let’s also talk about the general taxpayer in Nashville. The mayor has consistently mentioned there being no direct costs to city taxpayers. Yet when we look at the construction costs that are spelled out in the agreement, we see the state of Tennessee giving $500 million. Since Nashville’s residents are 10% of the state population, can’t we then say that $50 million is, in fact, a direct cost to city taxpayers?

Back to the agreement. Included in it is Nashville’s Metropolitan Sports Authority giving $760 million. Did I mention what happens if the Sports Authority can’t pay the amount agreed upon? Thankfully, the city’s general fund will pay it off for them with state and local taxes. I thought the mayor said there was no cost to the city’s general fund?

In addition to the city and state giving millions to this deal, the city of Nashville also agreed to “pay for the costs of building a new neighborhood around the stadium….and to provide 2,000 parking spaces.” The cost of all of this is NOT INCLUDED in the stadium agreement, nor does the mayor’s term sheet “identify a cost for this”.

– Greenville Sun wrote an excellent article discussing the fact that there are some large questions remaining on the costs of the maintenance and building of areas right outside the new stadium. As they wrote, once the city does build this new neighborhood, the city won’t benefit financially because 50% of the state and local sales taxes collected in this area will be sent back to the tax fund.

Didn’t the Titans say above that they would pay for upkeep and maintenance?

A key element of the plan that was already discussed, however, is the new stadium’s Capital Asset Management Plan, which will be created every three years to give a thorough look at what improvements and maintenance would need to be done at the new stadium to keep it maintained to lease standards.

– The Center Square, 03/22/23

What about the land where the current stadium sits? According to the Titans, that land can now have “parks, greenways, affordable housing, local businesses and more.” Sure, if the city can afford it.

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