Some Big Public Spending For Sports Facilities In Tennessee Approved

The owners of the NFL Titans and the owners of MiLB’s Knoxville Smokies get money.

The owners of the National Football League’s Tennessee Titans got a gift from the Tennessee Governor Bill Lee. The state will give a minimum $2 million annually from sales taxes generated inside the Titans stadium to team owners for stadium upgrades. Apparently, the stadium is out-of-date compared to the rest of the facilities in use in the NFL. According to a Nashville government study commissioned in 2017, the Titans building, which opened in 1999, was in need of $293 million worth of upgrades. That figure is probably much higher in 2021. Titans’ ownership also plans to develop the 130 acres around the stadium and that could include hotels, retail establishments, eating and drinking places, and other similar establishments. Once all of that is done, the sales tax amount given back to the team is estimated to be $10 million annually. It seems as if football really is an afterthought, after all at best the stadium would be used 12 days a year for a game. Nashville has a Major League Soccer team that is using public funds to build a stadium that could be used for concerts which can make a municipality money. There was some thought Nashville with an upgraded football facility could go after a 2026 World Cup soccer match as the United States, Mexico and Canada are hosting the men’s event that year.

Governor Lee did not forget Minor League Baseball. The way has been cleared for Knoxville to get a new stadium to keep the Smokies in town. The deal will also allow sales tax revenue from the stadium to be used to pay off the $65 million debt related to building the ballpark which is scheduled to open July 1st, 2023. It is just business that needed to be done.

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Tennessee Titans cornerback Desmond King (33) celebrates after he returned a fumble recovery 63 yards for a touchdown against the Chicago Bears in the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 8, 2020, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)