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Mayor John Cooper Issues Statement on Finalized Soccer Stadium Deal

2/13/2020
Chris Song

Mayor John Cooper today issued the following statement on the finalized soccer stadium deal:

“Today is an exciting step forward for sports in Nashville. We’ve reached an agreement and I expect work to start on the soccer stadium project in a matter of days.

“When I came into office, I inherited an incomplete deal that was not fully funded and did not provide for the success of all the uses of our historic Fairgrounds. I could not, in good faith, obligate taxpayers to more money or uncertainty around potential litigation. This deal lives up to our commitments to soccer, the Metro Charter, the other uses of the Fairgrounds, and my commitment to put taxpayers first in negotiations.

“I’m grateful to Nashville Soccer Holdings and John Ingram for understanding our city’s financial realities and for partnering on a better solution for our city.

“Major League Soccer will be a great entertainment and economic asset to our city. I believe this is the best available implementation of the commitment Metro Council made to professional soccer.

“We accomplished three things by taking a closer look at the soccer deal.

  1. We eliminated financial risk to taxpayers by removing the rent guarantee on the stadium. That is a savings worth up to $35 million over the next decade.
  2. The soccer ownership group agreed to pay for infrastructure work that would have cost taxpayers at least $19 million.
  3. And finally, in addition to saving $54 million, the result is a more unified, successful Fairgrounds, by providing open space between the soccer stadium and the historic speedway.

“This agreement allows for a better site plan, providing great civic space that connects the stadium, historic speedway, state fair and exhibition halls, and it will bring up to $650 million of investment to the Fairgrounds. I’m proud to say that the Community Benefits Agreement has been preserved and confirmed by language included in this new arrangement. I’m also excited by Speedway Motorsports’ desire to partner in bringing NASCAR back to Nashville, and I will work to try to make that happen.

“I’m ready for the first Nashville SC game on February 29, and I am excited to move forward with the rest of my policy agenda to create a city that works for everyone.”