The Music City Grand Prix Announces Inaugural Advisory Board

The Music City Grand Prix announced today (Jan. 26) the formation of its inaugural advisory board.

This talented and knowledgeable group of individuals, who are deeply engrained in the Nashville community, were selected based on their expertise in areas of sports and entertainment, event production, community engagement, hospitality, customer service, finance, construction and development.

The advisory board will help bring to life a best-in-class festival, featuring racing, food and music, this coming August. Ultimately, this volunteer board aims to position The Music City Grand Prix as a mainstay in the Nashville sports and entertainment landscape, creating an annual event that mirrors the incredible success of events such as the CMA MusicFest and 4th of July Fireworks. The three-day festival of speed, sound, food and fun is scheduled for August 6-8, 2021 in Nashville, Tennessee.

“I’m pleased to serve on The Music City Grand Prix advisory board—it’s a group of people who truly believe in Nashville and see the opportunities for growth in our community,” says Monica Fawknotson, executive director, Nashville Sports Authority. “Both as a Nashvillian and Director of the Sports Authority, I am excited for a new, dynamic, privately financed sports and entertainment festival to Middle Tennessee. This event will bring thousands of people into downtown and showcase the versatility of our community and our sports facilities.”

“I’m honored to be part of this group and exciting new annual event.” says Yuri Cunza, president & CEO, The Nashville Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. “Racing and motorsports have worldwide appeal—popular amongst a diverse international fan base including in numerous Hispanic countries across the globe. We look forward to showcasing the diversity of our community with the addition of events like Music City Grand Prix.”

“We are grateful for the support of our advisory board and look forward to working with them to host an incredible event in August that showcases Music City as an international sporting and entertainment destination,” says Christian Parker, president of the Music City Grand Prix. “Every board member has an established track record of success. More importantly, they have also made an impact in our community, through outreach, engagement, and charitable endeavors, making Music City a better place to live, work, and play for all Nashvillians. We are proud to work closely with them on charitable initiatives, such as affordable housing, child wellness and STEM programs that will provide a positive, long-term impact on our community.”

The inaugural Music City Grand Prix Advisory Board is comprised of the following leaders:
Kix Brooks, Hall of Fame Singer/Songwriter and Entertainer
Heather Brown, PhD, Professor, MTSU School of Concrete and Construction Management
Toby Compton, Deputy Commissioner, Tennessee Department of Commerce & Insurance, Chairperson of the Nashville Sports Council
Chaz Corzine, Partner, The MWS Group
Yuri Cunza, President & CEO, Nashville Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
Rod Essig, Co-Head, CAA Nashville
Jenneen Kaufman, SVP & CFO, Tennessee Titans/Nissan Stadium
Monica Fawknotson, Executive Director, Nashville Sports Authority
Shan Foster, VP External Affairs, YWCA, Executive Director of Amend Together
Harrison Frist, President of Market Operations, NaviHealth
Rose Grindstaff, President, G&M Consulting
Don Hardin, President & CEO, Don Hardin Group Construction
David Kells, EVP, Entertainment and Venues, Nashville Predators/Bridgestone Arena
Ken Levitan, Co-President, Vector Management
John Oates, Hall of Fame Singer/Songwriter, Racing Enthusiast

For more information about Music City Grand Prix, click here.

John Loar Leads Charge To Bring Sports Entertainment District to Music City [Interview]

John Loar

Businessman John Loar moved to Nashville to be closer to his daughter. Now he finds himself leading the charge to bring a Major League Baseball team and sports entertainment district to Music City.

His background is in real estate operations and acquisitions. In the late ’90s, Loar led the effort for the Seattle Seahawks acquisition and near-relocation to Los Angeles. He also supported former pitcher and Diamondbacks GM, Dave Stewart, on the acquisition of the Miami Marlins.

It’s clear that Loar sees Nashville’s potential future as part of MLB as a full circle investment in Music City’s entertainment capacity. He’s interested in creating a sports, family entertainment district—like that of Atlanta, Georgia’s The Battery Atlanta, and Ballpark Village in St. Louis, Missouri—not just a baseball field.

Loar founded Music City Baseball, LLC, an organization primarily of Tennessee business, sports, music, and community leaders that is committed to bringing a MLB franchise to the City of Nashville, without government funding. With a focus on securing MLB approval of an expansion franchise in Nashville, the leadership team is also open to the possibility of relocation and rebranding of an existing franchise.

Understanding the fabric of Music City and it’s business climate, Music City Baseball has already engaged with the music industry, securing Music Advisory Board Members to involve them in the plan for bringing MLB to Nashville and the concept of a new entertainment district. Entertainment icons Luke Combs, Kane Brown, Darius Rucker and Justin Timberlake have joined the Board thus far.

Darius Rucker. Photo: Courtesy FINN Partners

“The importance of the music industry to Music City Baseball’s objectives, extends to why Nashville is an important market,” Loar tells MusicRow. “It’s the opportunity to just connect the two of those going forward. Nashville is Music City, it’s the hottest market in the country. This ballpark is truly not a ballpark, it would be an entertainment venue for world-class entertainment, where you can imagine residencies like in Las Vegas. It would be air conditioned and covered, so they could use it year round. So it’s not about baseball, it’s more about that opportunity to create a world-class [entertainment complex], for convention use, for corporate use, etc.

“Baseball is the reason why I’m the catalyst behind it, but what we’re building here is a world-class entertainment venue. Baseball plays for 22% of the time, 81 games, but what it creates is an opportunity to have a venue within a venue. By design with our partners ASM Global, coordinating our music industry advisors, [the Nashville music industry can have] an important role in being part of this process. They can be included in the design of how the facility operates, how it’s designed and how it functions,” Loar says.

Rendering of potential ballpark / entertainment complex. Photo: Courtesy Music City Baseball

In an effort to build a Major League franchise on equity and celebrate diversity, Music City Baseball wants to name the team Nashville Stars, in honor of several Negro league baseball teams that played games in Nashville in the 1940s. They established a partnership with the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, which includes a net sharing of revenues from the sale of merchandise bearing the name “Nashville Stars,” and cooperation between marketing and social media efforts.

“It gives Major League Baseball the opportunity to take its place in history and be proactive instead of reactive in the conversations that continue to go on diversity and inclusion,” Loar says.

Music City Baseball was positioned to submit a proposal to MLB to establish a team in Nashville, but that step has been delayed a year due to business effects from the COVID-19 pandemic. Until then, Loar is focused on site selection for the proposed entertainment district.

“We hope it’s in Davidson County, but it will possibly be in Williamson County or Rutherford County. We’ve got eight sites that we’re considering,” Loar says. “We hope it’s part of the East bank, potentially the Tennessee State University site. A downtown ballpark gives us the opportunity to build, with our partner ASM Global, a world-class entertainment venue. The walkability, bringing the Cumberland River alive, and just being part of a downtown park is the objective.”

In 2021, it’s important for Music City Baseball to show their partner (ASM Global) that the Nashville market can be a revenue contributor, the reasons why, and to find a site for the ballpark.

“We think we can privately finance a ballpark here, as it’s really not a ballpark. It’s an entertainment venue. The baseball team becomes a tenant,” Loar says. “It’s driven by the music industry in residencies, and in conventions. It supports the growth of Nashville, the airport growth, the expansion internationally, and the hotel industry and the restaurant industries that continue to grow, even with COVID. People come to Nashville just because it’s Music City, so when the Red Sox, the Phillies, the Giants, or whoever see the Stars on the schedule, they’re going to come here for a three-game series, and be a part of the town and the market area.”

Scott Borchetta Announces Big Machine Racing Team

President/CEO and Founder of Big Machine Label Group, Scott Borchetta, has announced the formation of the Big Machine Racing Team. The team will compete full-time in the 2021 NASCAR Xfinity Series, with Nashville driver Jade Buford behind the wheel.

Borchetta has a long history of merging his Nashville music empire which includes superstars like Tim McGraw, Sheryl Crow, Thomas Rhett and Florida Georgia Line, with the sport of racing. From providing talent for pre-race ceremonies to securing title sponsorships such as the Big Machine Vodka 400 at the Brickyard, Borchetta’s announcement is a natural progression for the entrepreneur.

Borchetta is no stranger to the track himself, he raced motocross and quarter midgets as a kid in Southern California before following his dad in the Nashville music business in the early ‘80s. He picked racing back up in the late ’90s in the NASCAR SuperTrucks Weekly Series where he won three consecutive championships. In 2020, Borchetta raced in the SVRA Group 6 Division, picking up a National Championship in his ’72 Corvette. The Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway further recognized his commitment to the sport this past October by inducting him into their Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway Hall of Fame.

“I’ve always been involved in racing, it’s a part of my DNA,” says Borchetta. “Whether as a competitor, a fan or a sponsor, racing is a constant in my life and is a part of our Big Machine culture. The formation of the Big Machine Racing team only broadens the integration opportunities for our recording artists and the sport.”

Buford is well known for his road racing prowess which includes wins at such tracks as Sebring and Watkins Glen as well as a fastest qualifier/pole position at Daytona. Buford had his first Xfinity starts in 2020 where he scored a Top 10 finish at Charlotte’s rainy Roval.

Big Machine Driver Jade Buford

The Mooresville-based team will be overseen by longtime NASCAR Crew Chief Patrick Donahue, a seasoned veteran who led four-time NASCAR Champion and Hall of Fame driver Jeff Gordon to victory in the Xfinity Series.

Big Machine brands will be the primary sponsor for the No. 48 Xfinity Chevrolet, including Big Machine Vodka, Big Machine Hand Sanitizer and key Big Machine Label Group artists.

Darius Rucker Joins Effort To Bring Major League Baseball To Music City

Darius Rucker has joined Music City Baseball as an investor and Music Advisory Board member. Rucker joins fellow artists Luke Combs, Kane Brown, and Justin Timberlake on Music City Baseball’s Music Advisory Board in providing deep music industry influence in the plan for bringing Major League Baseball and the concept of a new entertainment district to Nashville.

“I have always been a big fan of Major League Baseball so I’m excited about being part of bringing a team to Tennessee,” says Rucker. “Nashville is already a great home to several professional sports teams, and I believe baseball is the next step in continuing Nashville’s reputation as one of the greatest cities in the United States.”

“We are beyond thrilled to welcome Darius to our growing team,” says Managing Director of Music City Baseball, John Loar. “His star-power and genuine enthusiasm for this effort will be contagious as we expand our reach and generate excitement throughout Tennessee.”

Music City Baseball is pushing to bring a MLB team to Nashville with private investment and without the help of government funding. In addition to a team, MCB is partnering with Moody Nolan Architects and former Titans running back Eddie George, who is co-leading their real estate development advisory team, to design a family and entertainment district that will intersect with Nashville’s lively music and sports scene.

MCB is committed to bringing a Major League franchise to Nashville that is built on equity and celebrates diversity. The team name would be the Nashville Stars, in honor of several Negro League teams that played games in Nashville in the 1940s. Additionally, Music City Baseball has established a partnership with the Negro League Baseball Museum that includes a net sharing of revenues from the sale of merchandise bearing the name ‘Nashville Stars’ and cooperation between marketing and social media efforts.

NFL Hall of Fame’s Health Network Includes Vanderbilt Health As Founding Member

Vanderbilt Health is one of 12 of the nation’s premier providers of medical care that will begin offering services to any former NFL player or team employee, and their families, under the banner of Hall of Fame Health.

An estimated 80% of the League’s nearly 20,000 former players are not covered under employer-sponsored medical plans and must shop for insurance coverage each year during the national open-enrollment period, which this year begins Nov. 1.

As part of the agreement, Vanderbilt Health will work with Hall of Fame Health to provide a variety of services, some designed to fill gaps in existing coverage, along with concierge services to help former players and their families navigate the health care landscape. Offerings will complement services the NFL provides in the 30 cities where franchises are located and will add available in-network health options in areas of the country where thousands of NFL retirees are located.

“We have decades of experience caring for the unique and challenging health needs of elite athletes, world-class entertainers, corporate leaders and public figures of all kinds, so we feel it is our duty to step up and be involved early with Hall of Fame Health,” says C. Wright Pinson, MBA, MD, Deputy Chief Executive Officer and Chief Health System Officer for VUMC. “Our region is home to many former players and their families, and we’re proud to be a resource for them as they start to play the long game with their health.”

“This network of world-class health systems, physician groups and provider organizations is committed to helping the Pro Football Hall of Fame serve former football players and their families as they look to navigate and gain access to the very best care,” says Jeremy Hogue, CEO of Hall of Fame Health. “It’s consistent with the hall’s mission ‘to honor the heroes of the game.’ In the community of former football players, there is a need. We’re rising to meet it.”

“When we talk about ‘honoring the heroes of the game,’ it’s more than documenting their accomplishments on the field. It’s about caring about them off the field as well,” says David Baker, president and CEO of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. “And that care is not limited to members of the Hall of Fame; it’s for everyone associated with the great game of football. Hall of Fame Health and these network partners will improve quality of life by providing world-class health care to the thousands of men and women who have been associated with the National Football League and its 32 clubs.”

Along with Vanderbilt Health, the Hall of Fame Health network includes other premier hospitals, physicians and orthopedic centers like Andrews Institute, Aultman Health, Baylor Scott & White Health, Emory Healthcare, HCA Houston Healthcare, HonorHealth, Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush (MOR), OrthoLoneStar, Providence St. John’s Health Center, Tampa General Hospital and UCSF Health.

Nashville Predators Presented With The NASS Medallion Award

Pictured (L-R): Predators President & CEO Sean Henry, Nashville Predators Mascot GNASH, Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett.

The Nashville Predators were presented with the National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS) Medallion Award for their advocacy and dedication to promoting civic and voter engagement through their partnership with the Your Vote Matters campaign.

“I’m honored to present the Nashville Predators organization with the NASS Medallion Award,” says Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett. “More Tennesseans are registered to vote and ready to make their voice heard at the polls thanks to the Preds’ continued commitment to our Your Vote Matters campaign to increase civic engagement.”

The NASS Medallion Award recognizes outstanding service and dedication to furthering the mission of the National Association of Secretaries of State. Individual secretaries of state may present the award to honor individuals in their state who promote the goals of NASS in one or more of four areas: elections, civic education, service to state government or a commitment of giving.

“This award means more to our organization than I can express,” Predators President & CEO Sean Henry says. “There is nothing more important than having your voice heard. To receive [the NASS Award] for all of Smashville, not just our organization, but for all of our fans and our players that played a big part in getting the messaging out, it was really nice because there’s nothing more important to move this community forward than first, registering to vote and then, obviously participating in the vote.”

The Your Vote Matters campaign encourages all eligible Tennesseans to make their voices heard in 2020 by registering to vote and exercising their right during early voting or on Election Day.

Music City Grand Prix To Bring Three Days Of Racing Excitement To Nashville


Gentleman Start Your Engines. The Music City Grand Prix, in partnership with INDYCAR, is bringing the NTT INDYCAR SERIES race to Nashville Aug. 6-8, 2021. The three-day international festival of speed and sound will be staged on a temporary grand prix circuit running through downtown Nashville and around the Nissan Stadium campus.

Attendees can look forward to live music performances by top artists, best-in-class chef-curated food experiences and entertainment that centers on speed in a way only Music City can serve up. Stages with an all-star lineup will be a part of this event with top talent performances including CeCe Winans as well as many others which will be announced at a later date.

“With Nashville’s deep motorsports roots, combined with its ability to deliver world class live music, Music City Grand Prix is certain to throw a party that only Nashville can deliver, buckle up – it’s gonna be a wild ride,” says Kix Brooks.

President/CEO of Big Machine Label Group, Scott Borchetta, is an investor in the event and will be instrumental in curating the music for this festival.

“As a partner, Big Machine will be bringing all of its entertainment experience to ensure that the inaugural IndyCar weekend will combine all things music and racing for an incredible weekend of entertainment. You don’t have to be a race fan to enjoy what this event will bring to the city. But I bet you leave a race fan,” says Borchetta.