Titans’ Stadium Update: Metro Looks To Tourism Taxes To Help Fund Stadium Ventures

Nissan Stadium. Photo: Gabriel Tovar

Members of Nashville Metro Government gave an update on the city’s plan for updates/construction on Nissan Stadium at the Sports Authority Board Meeting on Thursday, Sept. 15.

Sam Wilcox, Deputy Mayor for Policy and Innovation, presented a tentative plan  outlining how the city would help pay for a new or reconstructed Titans’ stadium. He was joined alongside Finance Director Kelly Flannery and Deputy Director Tom Cross to offer insight on how the city, state and the Titans would fund this massive undertaking.

In short, Metro’s plan would be to move the burden off taxpayers and the city’s general fund, paying for the stadium with a 1 percent county-wide hotel occupancy tax, in-stadium sales tax, and a campus sales tax that would affect 130 acres surrounding the stadium. The county-wide hotel tax would only go into effect if a new stadium is built.

The existing primary sources for paying for Nissan Stadium include $74.88 million Metro General Obligation Bonds, which funded East Bank land acquisition, and $116.8 million Sports Authority Revenue Bonds, which funded Stadium construction and maintenance. The Department of Water and Sewerage Services currently pay an annual $4 million towards the Sports Authority Revenue Bond.

It was previously reported that Governor Bill Lee and the state would pay $500 million to the stadium reconstruction, but only if it the new stadium is enclosed.

Prior reports also indicated that the building of a new stadium could cost up to $2 billion. After the Titans announced it could cost that much for a new stadium, Metro hired Venue Solutions Group to conduct an independent study on the costs for a new stadium and an updated Nissan Stadium. The final report for the study is expected in early November, pushing any and all plans to get a deal done to 2023.

The Metro members emphasized the governments priorities to be:

  • Minimize interest cost
  • Minimize general fund exposure
  • Eliminate Water and Sewer PILOT
  • Identify funding source for long-term capital maintenance
  • Eliminate Metro liability for unfunded capital maintenance requirements

The final goal is to obviously sign a new lease with the Titans and keep the NFL in Nashville for the long run without hitting the pockets of the Davidson County tax payer. The plan is also to rework all prior contracts and leases that forced the city to pay for any and all maintenance updates for the stadium.

This process could take months or even years as negotiations with the team, state and mayor’s office may take some time.

Metro made the same presentation to the East Bank Stadium Committee on Wednesday, Sept. 14.

Steven Boero