Has Nashville become ‘it’ city for sports, too?

(Photo: WKRN)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – It was just 20 years ago Nashville joined the world of pro sports, adding both the Tennessee Titans and Nashville Predators.

It’s clear this city is a whole lot different now. Just check out that skyline–more buildings, more businesses, and a lot more money.

“I think we are certainly positioned much better to see our next wave of growth after this first 20 years,” said Scott Ramsey with the Nashville Sports Council.

He continued, “I certainly think the city is certainly more dynamic, the city is certainly prosperous at this point.”

When we talk about the health of pro-sports teams, the natural urge is to point to the number of fans in the seats, but they’re actually only part of the equation.

“I think the ability to have corporations on a regional basis step up for suites, club seats, PSL’s, sweets in the arena, I think that’s kind of your real anchor and backbone to hopefully being successful,” said Ramsey.

(Photo: WKRN)

Recently in Nashville, we’ve seen major corporate partners step up. Bridgestone is building its new national headquarters downtown and owns the naming rights to Bridgestone Arena. Nissan’s North American headquarters are in Cool Springs and analysts believe they spent $100 million for the naming rights to Nissan Stadium for 20 years.

“You’re talking about major private sector leadership in not only our city, but in North American in most cases or worldwide. I think that really helps solidify the legitimacy of Nashville as a Pro sports destination,” Ramsey said.

While Nashville is currently the “it” city, the question is, is Music City ready for more.

“When you look at the landscape nationally the jump between two and three professional teams is a big jump when you look at city size, population and disposable income,” Ramsey said.

Nashville Mayor Megan Barry is taking that leap as she and local business leaders are trying to attract an expansion in Major League Soccer.

“They’re looking at their corporate interest and absolutely we’ve got that. Are there private individuals who want to invest significantly in the team? We absolutely have that. And is there a fan base? I think we absolutely have that,” the mayor said.

(Photo: WKRN)

The money is also lined up with corporate and private investors ready to bet on pro sports and Nashville.

“I think it is important, it’s important to have the corporate support,” Mayor Barry said. “I think as we move forward with the MLS conversation making sure that we have that is key. I know that from the private conversations I’ve had with some of the investors those corporate activities are moving along just in sync with the private investment.”

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