Titans owners will invest $700M in new stadium

Tennessee Titans ownership is proposing to invest $700 million to build a nearly $2 billion covered football stadium next to Nissan Stadium in Nashville, House Speaker Cameron Sexton said Friday in a radio interview.

The Titans’ commitment would be bolstered by more than $1 billion in taxpayer money. Sexton said the city of Nashville would pay $700 million to go along with a proposed $500 million from the state.

Sexton appeared on Nashville’s Morning News with Dan Mandis on 99.7 WWTN-FM and said the Adams family, which owns the team, is doing everything it can to come up with the funding.

“They are investing everything that they have and liquidating almost everything that they have to come up with their $700 million to invest in this stadium,” Sexton said of the Adams family. “This stadium would be their largest single investment that they have of anything that they own.

“The city is wanting to put in $700 million, and the state’s putting in [$500 million].”

Adams was chairman and CEO of Adams Resources and Energy, a crude oil and natural gas company.

Sexton’s interview came after Gov. Bill Lee proposed for the state authorizes $500 million in bonds toward a new covered stadium in his budget amendment presented. The bonds would require $55 million in annual recurring payments for the state.

The bonds would be in addition to a tax deal the Legislature made last year that allows the Titans to retain all sales tax in the stadium and 50% of the potential sales tax for a development the Titans are proposing around the property on what is now Metro Nashville-owned stadium parking lots.

The fiscal note on the bill said after the development is built, the stadium and development could generate $10 million in sales tax annually. All of the stadium sales tax and 50% of the sales tax outside of the stadium would go back to the team.

Titans CEO Burke Nihill recently said a potential new stadium could be ready as soon as the 2026 season if there is a funding agreement in place before this fall. If that happened, Sexton told the radio station Nissan Stadium would be torn down.

Sexton said “we believe that stadium has paid itself back” with the state’s investment in Nissan Stadium, and he believes the same would be true of the $500 million investment in a new stadium if it can host the Super Bowl, WrestleMania and concerts, such as the rained-out Garth Brooks concert at Nissan Stadium in 2021.

Sports economists who have studied new stadiums and developments surrounding them, however, have found the stadiums do not make up for large incentives with new sales tax collections.

“My understanding is there is going to be a cash district that’s going to devote money to funding the stadium and a new development,” Bradbury said. “If that’s the case, then you’re pulling money out of the community. Now we’ve created this brand-new district and people start shopping there. If they were previously spending that money in other districts where money wasn’t going to fund a new stadium, then that’s money taken out of the district that would have been spent on other things.”

Sexton said the state is looking at the returns from its Nissan Stadium investment and will have those numbers soon.

Metro Nashville has not detailed its commitment to a new stadium, but Nihill said the team is looking to work out a deal that does not involve general fund dollars as Nissan Stadium does.

“We appreciate and welcome the Governor’s willingness to make this potential investment in Nashville,” Nashville Mayor John Cooper’s office said in a statement. “For the last 20 years we’ve loved hosting the Tennessee Titans under the original lease, and that first lease now obligates us to provide and maintain a first-class stadium.

“Mayor Cooper is committed to two goals: keeping the Titans in Nashville for generations to come, and doing that in a way that does not divert tax dollars from education, affordable housing, infrastructure or other general fund obligations. We are continuing to study stadium options that allow us to do both.”

One difference between the sales taxes in a new district and funds from Metro Nashville’s general fund, however, are that those who spend money at the stadium and new development would be choosing to go there and spend money rather than having it come out of property taxes and other local tax sources.

“The idea all along is to find revenue streams both from inside the building and also from the real estate that would go from 100 acres of dormant asphalt into something that generates property taxes and that generates sales taxes,” Nihill said. “To look for solutions like that. There’s a public financing component to it but it’s not something that would ever threaten to raise anyone’s taxes if there is an unfunded liability. It’s from the users of the facility, from the users of the campus that there would be some.”

Sexton said he believes the Adams family’s commitment shows with their efforts to come up with the $700 million investment.

“This would be an investment partnership with everybody that has just as much skin in the game to make sure that we keep the Titans in Tennessee and make sure that the Adams family can stay in Tennessee,” Sexton said. “When that family is making that big of an investment and having to liquidate, that shows you how important (it is) and how much they’re into it, which gives me some confidence that they’re here to stay.”

This article was originally posted on Titans owners will invest $700M in new stadium

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