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Tennessee Governor approves MLS stadium funding resolution

Photo courtesy of MLS2Nashville (M2N)

At a time when several other bids have seen their stadium plans derailed, Nashville’s MLS bid continues to quietly strengthen its position as a leading candidate.

Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam approved and signed House Bill 6/Senate Bill 3, adding MLS to an existing state statute that allows the use of state sales tax collected at NFL, NBA, and NHL venues to help cover stadium expenses. The bill places MLS on equal footing with the other major sports with respect to state funding, and is a huge step in the stadium-building process for Nashville.

“Today was a major step forward for the movement to bring Major League Soccer to Nashville,” said MLS2Nashville co-founder Will Alexander. “This law puts MLS on the same footing in Tennessee as the National Football League, National Hockey League and the National Basketball Association. Nashville continues to make a strong case that our city belongs in MLS, and this bill demonstrates our state’s leadership shares that view.”

The question of funding, particularly when concerned with a public-private partnership, has derailed several MLS bids to date. The St. Louis bid, headed by the SC STL group, saw their funding vote rejected earlier in 2017, essentially ending its hopes. The Charlotte bid has been beleaguered by a lack of political interest and funding concerns from the start. The Detroit bid has been unable to acquire the land it desires for a stadium site. Most recently, San Diego’s city council voted against a special 2017 ballot to approve land use at the Qualcomm Stadium site, leaving that bid out to dry until the 2018 ballot.

Along with Nashville, Tampa/St. Petersburg, led by the USL’s Tampa Bay Rowdies, and Sacramento, led by the USL’s Republic, have also had stadium funding approved. With a soccer-specific stadium deemed a necessity in this round of expansion, that places these three cities at the forefront of the discussion.


  1. I am not saying this is or isn’t the answer.

    The problem with MLS is the parity. It is the greatest aspect to it, but it also hinders growth, as you are only as strong as the weakest link.

    It becomes a numbers game. We already know that. Real Madrid didn’t win Europe as a broke team.
    Nashville metro area population of 1.7 million with median income of 66k.

    • That’s better income than Portland, Kansas City, or Denver which all have championships since 2010. Also has larger population than Portland or KC, but not sure if the numbers I saw were total urban area or just city itself.

    • sort of. most businesses are not financing each other with their sales tax revenues

      “adding MLS to an existing state statute that allows the use of state sales tax collected at NFL, NBA, and NHL venues to help cover stadium expenses”

      • As small business owner & disable combat vet; I don’t get tax-break or tax-credits, heck, I have to pay about 1/3 my sales to mafia (federal government) plus county & city taxes & permits, I don’t as a cent from VA, & I do own property in Smokey Mountains. I know more my hard work is going to take a cut.

      • Hey Scott,

        Didn’t know that about you. Not to be cliche, but with sincerity: thank you for your service.

      • Maybe I’m reading it wrong but it seems to say it only affects sales tax on items purchased at the stadiums so only user of the stadiums are paying for them which kind of makes sense.

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