Why Nashville Chamber believes MLS expansion team will be good for economy

On December 20, Nashville was officially announced as the next location for a Major League Soccer (MLS) expansion team. 

This announcement at the Country Music Hall of Fame was the culmination of work by the Mayor’s office, Metro Council, the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce and even Governor Haslam.

MLS Commission Don Garber, left, and MLS expansion owner John Ingram. Photo by: Mark Humphrey / AP

Beyond the excitement that comes with another professional sports team (and an international franchise at that), the Nashville Chamber supports the MLS expansion team and stadium for a number of reasons, including the growth potential that the project has for our region, as well as the success we have had with past significant public-private partnerships like Bridgestone Arena and the Music City Center.

In a study conducted by UT Knoxville and released by the Mayor’s Office in September 2017, estimates of revenue and employment growth from the MLS stadium construction and operation are significant.

The study estimates that construction of the stadium will bring a one-time increase of $139.2 million in income, $18.3 million in state and local tax revenues and 3,572 temporary full-time jobs to the city.

But the long-term benefits are also impressive. The study estimates almost $78 million in annual earnings for Tennesseans once the team begins playing in the stadium. The team will also bring an estimated 1,886 permanent full-time jobs and $15.1 million in tax revenues.

Though these estimates will be borne out over the next several years, MLS is definitely rising in popularity in the United States. Average attendance was 21,692 per game in the 2016 season, a substantial increase over previous seasons. Expansion teams are driving most of that growth, In fact,  the top three teams by average attendance are expansion teams themselves.

Benefits of MLS in Nashville are not limited to the economic metrics alone.  Access to another professional sport provides a quality of life enhancement for the whole community that is hard to measure, but important nonetheless.  And the economic development benefits associated with increased exposure in the sports industry should not be overlooked.

We are excited to support the MLS expansion and look forward to cheering on the Nashville team with the rest of the city, and state, when the games begin.

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