Nashville announces $250M stadium plan in pursuit of MLS expansion side

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Mayor Megan Barry believes the plan puts her market in the best position to win an MLS franchise in December

Nashville has announced a $250 million stadium plan as part of the market's bid to land an MLS expansion franchise.

Mayor Megan Barry and lead investor John R. Ingram confirmed Monday that they had finalized a proposal for a 27,500-capacity soccer-specific stadium on the Nashville Fairgrounds.

Stadium funding would draw $200 million in revenue bonds, $25 million from the MLS ownership group, and $25 million in general obligation bonds to pay for public infrastructure. The MLS ownership group would cover any construction cost overruns.

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In a news release, Barry said she believes the proposal puts her market in the best position to win an MLS franchise when the league awards two slots in December.

"A Major League Soccer franchise represents an incredible opportunity for Nashville to continue its growth and take its place on the global stage," Barry said. "This stadium plan and MLS bid represents significant private investment, and it safeguards taxpayers with a truly private-public partnership."

Los Angeles FC will kick off as the 23rd MLS club next season, and league officials are optimistic that David Beckham's long-gestating Miami franchise will be finalized soon.

MLS then plans to award two franchises in December (in addition, potentially, to Miami) before choosing two more markets at a later date, bringing the league to 28 teams. Charlotte, Indianapolis, Detroit, Phoenix, St. Louis, Raleigh/Durham, San Antonio, Cincinnati, Tampa Bay/St. Petersburg and San Diego have joined Nashville in submitting bids.

"We are making this investment in Nashville because we believe in this city," Ingram said. "This is a can-do community, and we know bringing Major League Soccer here is something sports fans want. We are an international city, and soccer is the world’s sport."

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