House Speaker: The City is wanting to put in $700m towards new stadium

On Friday morning, Tennessee House Speaker, Cameron Sexton (R-Crossville), went on the Dan Mandis Show to talk about the new stadium for the Tennessee Titans. You can listen to what he has to say by clicking here. The main story from the interview that is out on Twitter currently is from The Nashville Post talking about the $700m the Titans ownership is adding to the new stadium fund.

The report, which can be read here, talks about how Sexton said that the family is “investing everything they have, liquidating almost everything that they have, to come up with $700 million.” He added that it would be their “largest single investment.”

This is great news because it shows the level of commitment the family has in seeing this thing get done, because he includes the information that they’re liquidating the former owner’s, Bud Adams, assets in achieving that number.

However, there were loads of other information that is just as important as that quote that you need to know.

How the $500m bond from the State works

Mandis opens up the show asking Sexton to explain the logistics behind how the bond would work, because taxpayer in the state wants to know how that $500m could effect them.

“This bond would be a bond that would be paid back over time, and with revenue that’s collected,” explains Sexton. He then explained that “the bond would be paid off of the investment and the activity around the stadium.”

They are waiting on the numbers from the original bond issued way back when the original stadium was being built, but they safely assume that that investment has paid itself back many times over.

The Retractable Roof

Sexton said that with Tennessee being such a sales tax driven state, and tourism being one of the biggest industries for Tennessee, that this stadium was viewed as great investment not just for Nashville but for the whole state.

He brings up cities like Atlanta, Dallas, and Indianapolis and the events they get to host because of their stadiums. “The Titans talk about if we had an enclosed stadium we could get a Super Bowl, and that changed the whole discussion at that point.”

Big events like the Super Bowl, and Sexton even mentioned Wrestlemania, which brings over 100,000 people to your city for an entire weekend, as the main events. Ya boy has been banging the table about Wrestlemania ever since the news first broke, and you all should listen to me more.

“An enclosed stadium would change it from a football dominated venue to a international world class entertainment venue where we can start competing for events that we never had the capability, which would increase the number of people visiting,” says Sexton who goes on to say that, “Which would then increase our sales tax (revenue), and then we take that sales tax from people outside the state, which I think is very beneficial for Tennessee, and put it back through our K-12 education, and put it back through infrastructure, and our rural areas, so we do take that money from tourists and invest it back inside Tennessee.”

The plan is for a retractable roof, and no real interest in a dome concept. Sexton uses Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz as an example a few times throughout the talk about the roof.

Who’s spending $700m dollars?

We already that the family is willing to make the “largest single investment that they have” with putting $700m. However, that was only part of the sentence that Sexton laid out.

However, here is the real headline. Sexton continues on after explaining the Adams family’s investment saying, “The city is wanting to put in $700 million, and the state is putting in five (hundred million)”.

Hello?! Way to bury the lede, Nashville Post! I am sure Mayor John Cooper is fielding calls like the floor of the New York Stock Exchange in Trading Places. That is a whopper of a bombshell for Sexton to just casually drop.

“So this would be an investment partnership between 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.

If you’re a citizen of Davidson County, I am sure that you’re anxiously awaiting the fine print on how this $700m is funded. So the question becomes, if the $700m isn’t funded using some kind of bond situation, where it’s paid by some sort of sales tax redirect, do the citizens of Nashville and Davidson County want a new stadium that bad?

That’s what everyone needs to know: What’s the final number, and how much of that final number is the city’s taxpayers actually on the hook for? That’s a question that Mayor Cooper needs to be answering as soon as possible.

The Stadium by the Numbers

Axios Nashville Reporter, Nate Rau, put together a nice thread based on information in the article at The Nashville Post, and previous information released, where he lays out how the potential money invested could add up. I put them below with the addition of the information from Sexton about the $700m the city is wanting to invest:

  • Ownership: $700m
  • State: $500m
  • City: $700m
  • NFL: $150m*
  • State Sales Tax Redirect: $200m*
  • Total Invested: $2.25B

The numbers with an asterisk are estimates and not confirmed. Also, the “State Sales Tax Redirect” could end up being a part of the city’s investment.

The reports on Monday were that this stadium would cost $2b to build, and it looks like with the numbers above it would be able to clear that and also cover any additional costs that come its way.

Conclusion

Here are the questions that we all should keep in mind going forward:

  • Who does the development benefit?
  • Who does the investment benefit?
  • What’s the effect for non-downtown residents, and businesses?
  • What are all the strings that are attached to any of the investments?
  • How firm is the total cost of building a new stadium?
  • How much are Davidson County taxpayers actually on the hook for?

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