The likely payoff for a new stadium to serve as home to the Tennessee Titans is massive, according to the Speaker of the Tennessee House of Representatives. Not just for Nashville, but for all of Tennessee.
And the price that Amy Adams Strunk and her family are willing to pay to help make such a venue a reality speaks volumes. At least that is the opinion of Cameron Sexton (R-Crossville).
Sexton said during an appearance on Nashville radio station WWTN-FM (99.7) Friday morning, that the Titans will commit $700 million to the project, the same amount Metro Nashville government plans to contribute. Governor Bill Lee amended his proposed budget this week to include $500 million from the state.
“They are investing everything that they have and liquidating almost everything that they have to come up with their $700 million to invest in this stadium,” Sexton said of the Adams’. “This stadium would be their largest single investment that they have in anything that they own.
“… That tells you how important, how much they’re into it, which gives me some confidence that they’re here to stay.”
The combined commitments from the Adams family, the city and the state amount to $1.9 billion, which is consistent with estimates of the cost of a new stadium given recent comparable projects across the country. Design and formal financing are still in the planning stage, but the Titans have said they hope for a new stadium to be built in time for the 2026 NFL season.
Sexton did say specifically that the current idea is for the facility, which would be built on what is currently parking lots between Nissan Stadium an Interstate 24 to the east, to have a retractable roof. Such a venue would allow for the city and the state to compete to host high-profile events such as the Super Bowl and Wrestlemania.
The stadium could almost pay for itself, he estimated, if it hosted one Super Bowl.
“An enclosed stadium would change it from a football dominated stadium to a world-class entertainment venue, where we could start competing for events that we never had the capability, which would increase the number of people visiting, which would increase our sales tax,” Sexton said. “And then we take that sales tax from people outside the state, which I think, is very beneficial for Tennessee.”
He noted that Tennessee already is a “sales-tax driven state” for which tourism is one of the primary industries. Thus, the opportunity to host such events would serve the entire state well, not just Nashville. Sexton said the increased revenue would benefit education, infrastructure and investment in rural areas among other things.
Sexton also noted that the state’s investment in Nissan Stadium roughly 25 years ago “paid itself back a couple times over,” and expressed confidence that the $500 million in state funds for this project also would be returned without issue. The bonds that will be issued for the project will be repaid based activity related to development around the new stadium with no direct cost to local taxpayers.
“This would be an investment partnership between everybody that has just as much skin in the game to make sure that we keep the Titans in Tennessee and make sure that the Adams family can stay in Tennessee,” Sexton said.