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Local businessman Ingram provides Nashville MLS bid with significant financial backing


As the race for expansion slots 25-28 in MLS heats up in a big way, one contender has received a massive boost to their profile and hopes.

The bid to bring an MLS franchise to Nashville has gained the financial backing of billionaire John R. Ingram, chairman of Ingram Industries Inc. The Nashville-based company reportedly took in $2.3 billion in revenue last year.

An investment group led by Ingram expects to submit an official MLS bid by the Jan. 31 deadline.

“Nashville has a truly passionate fan base demonstrated by terrific attendance at national team matches,” Ingram told the Tennessean. “We’re a diverse, international city with a vibrant youth soccer scene and a booming population. We’re also a proven major league sports town. Nashville is ready for the world’s biggest sport played at the highest level.”

The announcement adds further tension and drama to an expansion race that could see as many as 10 viable candidates submit bids for the four available slots. Nashville was also recently announced as one of the host cities for July’s CONCACAF Gold Cup, and will host a U.S. Men’s National Team match.


  1. I think that both Tennessee and North Carolina have serious detrimental political issues that may preclude a franchise for them. While it is widely known, the bathroom law (HB2) caused Charlotte to lose its NBA All-Star game, it also serve as an impediment for a franchise. The MLS has not directly pointed it out, but they probably will not franchise a team anywhere that has a history of treating people, be it race, creed, gender, or ethnicity, differently through legislative action. Tennessee has a contentious law that allow a health provider to legally refuse treatment to LBTG persons.

    Its not that the MLS wants to treat these states differently in choosing a franchise, they do not want to but into a contentious issue that may have a future backlash. Both those States have deliberately invited the backlash by going out of its way to punish those who they think are different and passing laws to delineate their sexual preferences that can be discriminated against and made that discrimination legal.

    maybe Ingram industries can throw some cash towards a lobby group that would seek to rescind the law. As it is the MLS, to avoid a contentious issue with its own players and staff, should pass on both Tennessee and North Carolina

    • Please reference the law that prevents treatment to said persons. Also interesting that you assign an opinion where none has been stated. the difference is that while schools are centers for liberal thought, business will go where the money is. They will only grandstand when their political view matches their perceived monetary interest. If Nashville fits MLS goals, their people’s choice on the subject of bathrooms will not matter and the .3% of the population that actually wants to use opposite sex bathrooms will continue to do so, as they always have. If Nashville does not meet the goals of MLS, it will not be chosen regardless of their laws. Excuses will be made, or fingers pointed to justify the monetary decision either way, but the only true decision will be the dollar.

    • “MLS will not franchise a team anywhere that has a history of treating people, be it race, creed, gender, or ethnicity, differently through legislative action.”

      Unless they have oil money!

  2. Nashville is going to draw 50,000 fans to see soccer in 10 years. I don’t see it, but I would welcome it.

  3. Nashville does not scream soccer to me. They should use USL to establish the viability of the location at which point I then find interesting the perceived solidity of ownership. But Beckham is loaded and wants a team in Miami and that and a quarter gets you a cup of coffee, if the fans could care less.


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