Tennessee Titans President and CEO Burke Nihill isn’t thrilled about a potential Nashville Stars ballpark next to Nissan Stadium, a location proposed by Music City Baseball Managing Director John Loar.
The location, as identified in the above rendering released by the Stars, is currently used for parking. It’s also adjacent to where MLS’s Nashville SC once envisioned a new soccer stadium.
Of course, all sides are getting way ahead of themselves: MLB hasn’t announced any intention of expansion, much less a timeline or potential contenders. Still, one can understand why Loar is eager to identify a potential site for a new ballpark: by locking down as much of a game plan as possible, Loar and crew will be ready to present details when we see the inevitable MLB expansion–which may come sooner than later. For MLB suffering serious losses this year and potentially in 2021, expansion fees will go a long ways in addressing that pain. Many in the industry expect expansion once the next labor contract is settled.
In a radio interview, Nihill shot down the notion of a ballpark next to Nissan Stadium. It’s easy to see the appeal of the site: it’s directly across the Cumberland River from downtown Nashville, and it’s an easy walk from many downtown watering holes to the ballpark. (That’s the existing John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge leading directly to the ballpark from the core of downtown in the rendering above. That’s a pretty primo ballpark location, one that Loar and his investors are right to fight for.) From The Tennessean:
“I personally am a big baseball fan, a Cubs fans still basking in the glow of the 2016 World Series,” Nihill said. “That said, I do think there is some confusion in the market about where the (baseball) stadium would be located. It won’t be at Nissan Stadium. But I know they’re looking at other venues and am excited to see if they’re able to put all the pieces together.”
Music City Baseball released a rendering of a park last fall that would be located on the south side of Nissan Stadium and would be part of the stadium’s footprint.
“This is a long-term vision and we’re early on in our process,” Loar said Friday after Nihill made his remarks. “We think a world-class entertainment venue, which includes a baseball ballpark, would add tremendous value to the East Bank.”
Other potential sites, according to Loar are the campus of Tennessee State on Nashville’s west side and Williamson County–think suburban Franklin, which once pitched the PCL’s Nashville Sounds on a new ballpark way back when.
Nashville’s major sports scene currently includes the NHL’s Predators, the NFL’s Titans and MLS’s Nashville SC. The market is currently home to a successful Minor League Baseball franchise in the Nashville Sounds (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League), and all indications have been that the club’s First Horizon Park cannot be expanded to meet MLB standards.
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