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Soccer in Nashville


Nashtitans

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12 minutes ago, Bos2Nash said:

I for one really like the design of the stadium. It speaks to the industrial nature of the fairgrounds as a agricultural/dity/rough & ready nature that the fairgrounds really represents. As for the stadiums, why shouldn't MLS be able to have their own stadium? Every other major sport gets their own including college (hell this board almost demands VU spend a butt ton on a new football one). Playing in a massive NFL style stadium is not good for the sport because they will not be able to fill those venues and it will look poorly on the sport. The New England Revolution are the perfect example as they play in Gillette Stadium (granted Robert Kraft owns both teams), but they only really use the lower bowl and even that is hard to fill at times. For MLS to really gain a foothold as a major sport, they should have their own venues (and honestly, the team should pay for them themselves). 

I don't begrudge Nashville SC the right to their own stadium, other than the fact that the public money spent on it would go a long way towards making the inevitable upgrades to Nissan Stadium. The Car Hole plus a partial roof could easily be shared by NSC and the Titans, and I'm not sure that the MLS can't fill 60,000-seat stadiums in the near future (Atlanta and Seattle do it on the regular).

The planned capacity of the Fairgrounds stadium is about equivalent to the lower bowl and club level of Nissan Stadium as it is. This was the USMNT game against Jamaica for the Gold Cup semi-finals in July (attendance reported at 28,473):

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Yeah there's empty seats but it's only marginally worse than a recent Titans game and it wouldn't show up on most TV shots.

If Nashville SC wants to build their own stadium that's their prerogative but doing it with public help perpetuates the idea that the city should be on the hook to cover some of the costs for these, which is not good when Strunk is looking at either major upgrades or a new stadium for the Titans in the next decade.

Besides, once the Fairgrounds stadium is built and TSU completes their expansion of the non-car Hole, there's going to be four rectangular stadiums with capacity 25,000+ within about a three-mile circle around downtown, three of which basically sit empty for eight or nine months out of the year. There's not really any reason NSC couldn't play at one of the existing ones, in particular Nissan Stadium, except for semi-aesthetic issues like the seating rake (which is designed to emulate older Premier League stadiums and is not required from a functional perspective anyway).

If it had been me I would have gone in with Vanderbilt to build a new 35,000-seat stadium adjacent to campus in Midtown, but that has its own drawbacks. I'm not necessarily opposed to the Fairgrounds stadium, it just doesn't make a lot of sense to me to have two Chevys sitting in the garage when we could have had one Cadillac (or at least one Buick).

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1 hour ago, PruneTracy said:

Besides, once the Fairgrounds stadium is built and TSU completes their expansion of the non-car Hole, there's going to be four rectangular stadiums with capacity 25,000+ within about a three-mile circle around downtown, three of which basically sit empty for eight or nine months out of the year. 

I enjoyed reading your comments, but like a dog seeing a squirrel, this jumped out at me. Is there some news here about Hale Stadium expansion?

Sorry for getting a little off track here.

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1 hour ago, PHofKS said:

I enjoyed reading your comments, but like a dog seeing a squirrel, this jumped out at me. Is there some news here about Hale Stadium expansion?

Sorry for getting a little off track here.

I don't know about anything new since the original plan was released, but it's in their master plan or whatever they called it.

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Let me preface this by saying I'm a HUGE supporter of Nashville SC, and a huge supporter of Nashville's entry into the MLS in 2020, going as far as having season tickets for next year. That said, I'm fearful for the future of the MLS, I certainly hope I'm wrong, but there's just some things that don't feel right about what the MLS is doing in regards to mass expansion. The MLS was started in 1996, because in order for the U.S. to host the 1994 World Cup, the nation had to have a top tier league. (i.e Premier League in England, La Liga in Spain, etc.) The league was always fighting irrelevance in the early years, but carved out a decent if not large following in the cities where it put teams. In fact, of the 10 teams that started that 1996 season, only 1 folded (Tampa Bay Mutiny), and a total of 3 teams have folded in that time. The league stayed between 10 and 12 teams from 1996-2006, before starting a slow, measured expansion of one team per year from 2007-2010, bringing the total to 16 teams. In the years since, the league has expanded to up to 28 teams in 2022, with the possibility of growing to 30 soon after.

I feel like the MLS is expanding too fast right now, and seems to be making decisions based on what sounds good right now. Such as after Nashville was announced as an expansion city for 2020, Cincinnati was announced for 2019, despite Nashville being further ahead in the planning of a stadium, and the team. For my part, that seems a little underhanded. Not to mention that Sacramento had been waiting for a franchise for years, and was bypassed by cities such as Nashville, Cincinnati, Miami (which was initially awarded a franchise in 2013, but could never secure a stadium deal), Austin, St. Louis, and finally today it was announced that Sacramento had a "framework deal" to join in 2022.

To me, and this is only my opinion, this feels eerily like the Arena Football League, which blew up from 8 teams in 1991, to more than doubling the size of the league, up to 19 teams in 2001. The league would try to hold on to these teams after a 2009 bankruptcy forced the cancellation of the season, and teams folded one after the other in the ensuing decade, down to as few as 4 teams last season, and back up to 6 this year. I'm not saying that the MLS is following this route, but there are a number of risks they are taking, and there's a lot of money changing hands, mainly in large expansion fees.

The result of a collapse, no matter what scale, of the MLS will only further those that feel that soccer will not work in the U.S. While it's still a niche sport among the big four, it has made considerable inroads in the states, and given another decade or two, it could nudge its way into that discussion. That, along with the issues that the NFL is facing, it could position soccer to move up in the consciousness of many Americans. Of course, that's all speculative, with perhaps the slightest bit of hyperbole mixed in there as well.

In the end, the MLS could be the sport's last great hope for success in America, and I for one, would hate to see that chance fall apart because of greed of expansion fees.

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When I typed this out, I purposely tried to stay away from football, to avoid the whole "he just hates football" mindset. I do watch, though my interest isn't what it was in the past. That being said, the NFL, regardless of TV ratings, isn't as "powerful" as they were a few years ago, simply because football as a sport isn't as big as it was a few years ago. I hope you're right in that the MLS is screening these ownership groups, before just handing out teams. I maintain that the MLS, and perhaps I was hasty in saying they're the last great hope for soccer in America, but I do feel that the sport is at a tipping point in this country. International teams are gaining in popularity throughout the country, and I as a Liverpool fan can attest to this, as we had close to 200 at Party Fowl in Donelson for the Champions League Final back in June. Whenever European teams come across the Atlantic to play exhibition games, they can usually come very close to selling out NFL stadiums. (Tottenham v. Manchester City drew 56k here in 2017)

The main knock on the MLS is that the quality of play is far below what European leagues have, and it's very true. The financial rules in the MLS make it very difficult to put out a high quality team, and a highly restrictive salary cap doesn't help. The big names only come over once their good years are over, giving the MLS the earned reputation as a "retirement home" for great European players. Obviously more success will bring more money into the league, and more money to spend on these players to keep them stateside, rather going to these other leagues, many of which have few restrictions on how much a team can spend, other than FIFA's Fair Play rules.

I want it to be known that I want the MLS to succeed here in Nashville, and nationwide, it's just that I have concerns that their business model is not sustainable with where the sport is in the American mindset, but I do want it all to work out.

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TV ratings aren’t totally fair. The MLS a few years ago had just 24 teams. It will be 30-32 teams within 5-7 years, and the TV deals will be a return on the owner’s investment. 

The sport is clearly growing within the US, especially compared to football. 

The talent is here in the US.

I do pray the league is managed well so it is run efficiently. 

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1 hour ago, nashvylle said:

TV ratings aren’t totally fair. The MLS a few years ago had just 24 teams. It will be 30-32 teams within 5-7 years, and the TV deals will be a return on the owner’s investment. 

The sport is clearly growing within the US, especially compared to football. 

The talent is here in the US.

I do pray the league is managed well so it is run efficiently. 

I agree with you on pretty much every point. 2022 will be very telling as far as how big MLS has gotten in this country, as that is when a new TV deal would take hold.

As I mentioned prior, there is a tremendous gap between European leagues, which while I don't have actual viewership numbers, is likely growing faster than the MLS, somply because those talented players that we see in the US often go to Europe for the money (Christian Pulisic), and that includes young MLS players (Miguel Almiron). This is obviously a tough task, as I know several people that won't watch MLS, simply because of the lack of quality, which that's certainly their right.

I totally agree with the idea that the talent is here, and as the sport grows, that talent pool will grow as well. The NCAA might be a major hurdle for those that aren't quite top tier talent, but are good enough to go pro eventually, as I believe the rules allow for unlimited subs (Most major leagues only allow 3), and some of the other rules keeps those players from really developing into 90 minute players. I will agree that there is a solid amount of young talent in this country, it's just getting them out there for people to see, and getting them some time on the national team.

Nashy, that's my whole point in a nutshell, and I am right there with you that if the league is run responsibly, it could definitely be the sport of the future, but if it's not, and my worst fears come true, it will set the game back decades in this country, just simply because it would legitimize what all of the naysayers have been saying for 40-50 years, when there's actual, tangible proof to the contrary. I again point to the fact that here in Nashville, in the middle of summer, two Premier League teams played an otherwise meaningless game, and it drew over 56,000 fans. You go to cities where the game is more established, and you can often draw more.

My hope is that people of this city rally around this team, as they have the Titans and Preds, and make Nashville SC a part of the city, and sell out Nissan every week. I don't know if it will happen, but I know I'm doing my part, and I'll preach the virtues of having top level professional soccer in Nashville. I feel like the fact that each of the matches played there have drawn quite well, over 13k for each game if I'm not mistaken is a good omen for when the team goes to the MLS.

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I'd be more concerned about the success of MLS in Nashville if we also had a MLB team competing for fans, sponsors and media coverage, since both seasons are roughly from March through October. For smaller markets like Cincinnati that have both MLS and MLB, that seems like a challenge.

I will be interested to see if a Nashville MLS team can maintain support late in the season when its schedule begins to overlap with Titans, college football and even some early Preds games.

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2 hours ago, Jamie Hall said:

I'd be more concerned about the success of MLS in Nashville if we also had a MLB team competing for fans, sponsors and media coverage, since both seasons are roughly from March through October. For smaller markets like Cincinnati that have both MLS and MLB, that seems like a challenge.

I will be interested to see if a Nashville MLS team can maintain support late in the season when its schedule begins to overlap with Titans, college football and even some early Preds games.

Ahh, I'm not saying you are wrong, but that is not a good example. The only thing Cincinnati has going for it is attendance. Even with the perhaps the worst team in the history of MLS, they are averaging like 27,000 per game.  Nashville would be thrilled to get 20,000.

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22 minutes ago, hirtme said:

Ahh, I'm not saying you are wrong, but that is not a good example. The only thing Cincinnati has going for it is attendance. Even with the perhaps the worst team in the history of MLS, they are averaging like 27,000 per game.  Nashville would be thrilled to get 20,000.

27K is great, but remember, it's their first year. 

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1 hour ago, hirtme said:

Ahh, I'm not saying you are wrong, but that is not a good example. The only thing Cincinnati has going for it is attendance. Even with the perhaps the worst team in the history of MLS, they are averaging like 27,000 per game.  Nashville would be thrilled to get 20,000.

Last March, Nashville SC the USL team got 18k people to Nissan for a game against Pittsburgh (there highest home attendance). I don't think attendance will be a problem when they become a full MLS team. 

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I'm naturally pessimistic, but I don't see anyone giving an actual number. What is fine? My guess is Nashville will average around 17K next year - significantly less than any other recent expansion team (Minny, Atlanta, Cincy, Orlando, LAFC). Many clubs like to announce how ticket sales are going. Louisville announced this week that they sold 5000 season tickets for next year on the first day. How many has NSC sold so far? 

 

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7 minutes ago, hirtme said:

I'm naturally pessimistic, but I don't see anyone giving an actual number. What is fine? My guess is Nashville will average around 17K next year - significantly less than any other recent expansion team (Minny, Atlanta, Cincy, Orlando, LAFC). Many clubs like to announce how ticket sales are going. Louisville announced this week that they sold 5000 season tickets for next year on the first day. How many has NSC sold so far? 

 

I just feel like there isn't much MLS hype.  So much advertisement seems to be blended with the USL team (are they staying or going?).  The stadium has no real progress other than new "meh' pics.  The logo is not super desirable and I am not seeing any outreach to the local clubs or anything right now.  I get that not everything will be done in the amazing way the Preds do things.  But I am a bit disappointed in the MLS effort right now.  I am all "take my money!!"

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Just now, TheRaglander said:

I just feel like there isn't much MLS hype.  So much advertisement seems to be blended with the USL team (are they staying or going?).  The stadium has no real progress other than new "meh' pics.  The logo is not super desirable and I am not seeing any outreach to the local clubs or anything right now.  I get that not everything will be done in the amazing way the Preds do things.  But I am a bit disappointed in the MLS effort right now.  I am all "take my money!!"

The USL team is going away. Can't see Nashville running an NSC 2 team next year. I'd guess Nashville's affiliated USL team next year becomes Birmingham or Memphis. 

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NSC has been extremely slow/bad at everything so far. They took forever to get support up for the Fairgrounds vote. They botched the logo reveal. They are just a slow moving organization. 

I've been under the impression that the USL team was staying around and becoming NSC-2 like I think Atlanta United has a 2nd team also. 

I've seen billboards going up around town and a few commercials but not much else. 

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10 minutes ago, PaulChinetti said:

NSC has been extremely slow/bad at everything so far. They took forever to get support up for the Fairgrounds vote. They botched the logo reveal. They are just a slow moving organization. 

I've been under the impression that the USL team was staying around and becoming NSC-2 like I think Atlanta United has a 2nd team also. 

I've seen billboards going up around town and a few commercials but not much else. 

Wouldn't be a bad idea for NSC to open up their checkbooks and hire someone from the Preds organization to run their promotion staff.  

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Let's put some things into perspective:

Positives:
- We have 3 billionaire owners who worked with Metro gov't and got stadium funding approved within ~9 months.
- We have a CEO with vast Premier League management experience
- We have a GM with vast MLS experience (much needed for contracts, $ allocation, structuring)
- We have a head coach with MLS success (yes, he gets slack for being defensive minded, but our GM is offense heavy)
- We have signed 6 or 7 players for the MLS team, all offense, two of which are attacking, international, Designated Players

Negatives:
- Some people hate our logo
- We will have to play in our downtown NFL stadium for 2 years
- Not much marketing effort 6 months before MLS season start

There are things I, as someone with no marketing degree nor professional sports management experience, would do differently (like get a country music star on board with marketing), but there are many things I am happy about.

It's cliche, but if we win and are successful on the field, all other pieces fall into place. 

GO NSC. 
 

Edited by nashvylle
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