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Nashville, as MLB Expansion Market

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Highlights from an article titled, "A glimpse into Nashville's odds of a Major League (baseball) franchise:"

  • It's not clear from early conversations with sports and business community insiders who, if anyone, is seriously pursuing the opportunity. In fact, many expressed surprise when Nashville's name was floated by the commissioner as a potential expansion market.
     
  • Following Manfred's comments, both Mayor David Briley and Monica Fawknotson, executive director of the Metro Sports Authority, issued statements saying the launch of the MLS franchise is the city's priority right now, although they described the commissioner's comments as "flattering" and "a huge compliment," respectively.
     
  • It's also unclear when MLB's proposed expansion would actually move forward. Prior coverage of the possibility has stressed that the league is unlikely to add more teams before two of its existing franchises, Oakland and Tampa, finalize plans for new stadiums.
     
  • Ron Samuels, a longtime Nashville banking leader who was closely involved with efforts to land the Tennessee Titans in the 1990s and to keep the Predators a decade ago, said research has long shown Nashville is a market that would be a fit for a Major League Baseball team. Although he's not sure what the data shows now, Samuels continued, growth in the city's business community and the arrival of new Fortune 500 companies would seem to bolster that case, increasing the pool of potential sponsorship dollars that could prove vital to a team's success. “We’ve got … a mix now that certainly fits with the ability to support a team," Samuels said, referring not only to the city's business community but also its growing pool of transplants from cities with Major League Baseball teams.
     
  • Toby Compton, former executive director of the Metro Sports Authority, said he was happy to see Nashville mentioned by the commissioner, but he's not sure a team is truly in Nashville's future.  Compton, who now serves as president of the Associated Builders and Contractors of Greater Tennessee, led the Sports Authority during the construction of First Tennessee Park, the city's 3-year-old Minor League Baseball stadium that, a team official told The Tennessean, cannot be expanded for MLB. "I’m excited to be on the list. Major League [Baseball] would be great," said Compton, who's been closely involved with the push for an MLS team. "I just don’t quite see this panning out."

More behind the NBJ paywall here:

https://www.bizjournals.com/nashville/news/2018/07/18/take-us-out-to-the-ballgame-a-glimpse-into.html

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As Ron noted,  there is no city with under 2.5 million in MSA population that has four of the big five, NFL,NHL, NBA, MLB, and MLS . We don't think Nashville will be the first. And on that note, I don't think we will ever see any U.S. city with an MSA pop under 2.5 million have four of the big five. The numbers simply don't work.

As to Titanhog's question: I do feel we would have a better chance at MLB were the MLS thing to fizzle. BUT, soccer is an international sport that we can parlay into luring international businesses and tourists. Let's get MLS now. Maybe when we have 3 million we can land baseball.

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I like baseball more than soccer as a sport, but the thought of an MLS franchise seems "sexier" to me.

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8 minutes ago, e-dub said:

I like baseball more than soccer as a sport, but the thought of an MLS franchise seems "sexier" to me.

I agree.  Even though I love baseball and would rather watch paint dry than sit through a soccer game, soccer is clearly a growing sport that seems to be much more popular with younger people.  Baseball fans are aging, and fewer kids play Little League these days.  https://howtheyplay.com/team-sports/Baseball-A-Changing-Landscape

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when the soccer bid was first discussed a couple years ago, I said that I would rather have MLB.  And that I feared that if we got an MLS team that we would never get an MLB team.

Id like a baseball team, but I dont think we could support 4 teams, even with the brief MLS schedule. 

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I would love it but I don't see it happening either.  I'm surprised MLB is even talking about expansion right now.  They can barely fill up the stadiums in most mid-market cities as it is.  I know it would never happen, but I actually think MLB ought to cut 2-4 teams out to improve the quality of the product on the field.

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I watched a little of the Atlanta vs. Seattle soccer match on tv the other day...and it was impressive.  That crowd in Atlanta was crazy...packed in and waving HUGE flags in the stands.  It was possibly crazier than our Preds crowds.  What's up with Atlanta supporting soccer this way...when they've been known to not always fully support their other pro sports (they even lost their hockey team)?

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5 minutes ago, titanhog said:

I watched a little of the Atlanta vs. Seattle soccer match on tv the other day...and it was impressive.  That crowd in Atlanta was crazy...packed in and waving HUGE flags in the stands.  It was possibly crazier than our Preds crowds.  What's up with Atlanta supporting soccer this way...when they've been known to not always fully support their other pro sports (they even lost their hockey team)?

It's just a different experience, and a chance to "shape" a new part of life in the city (a newer-to-this-part-of-the-country sport). MLS is like a wide open thing at this point and I find that incredibly alluring.

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15 hours ago, titanhog said:

Ok...let me ask this:  If somehow the MLS expansion falls through here (because of the Fairgrounds fiasco)...would that suddenly change our minds on the viability of MLB here?

I don't know if it would. With the money already spent on First Tennessee Park, and the fact that it cannot be expanded, I'd say the taxpayers would have a tough time ponying up for an even more expensive park. Plus, what would happen to First Tennessee Park? I really don't see Nashville getting an MLB team in the next 10 years, even if the MLS deal fails (fingers crossed it won't). Add to that the future of Nissan Stadium and Bridgestone, and it really looks unlikely. The fact that the commissioner listed Nashville without us bidding  speaks VOLUMES of how well this city is perceived on a national scale though. Turning down possible professional teams isn't necessarily a bad problem to have.

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10 hours ago, e-dub said:

It's just a different experience, and a chance to "shape" a new part of life in the city (a newer-to-this-part-of-the-country sport). MLS is like a wide open thing at this point and I find that incredibly alluring.

Email your council members, then email them again. Tell your friends and family to email as well. Council needs to see emails daily and weekly of support! 

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14 hours ago, bmkTN said:

I'm surprised MLB is even talking about expansion right now.  They can barely fill up the stadiums in most mid-market cities as it is.

They don't have to fill them up, they play more games in a season. Total season attendance in the show is something like five times that of the NFL.

I wouldn't use the stadium capacity as a metric of team popularity (although there is a correlation). Having extra seats on hand for marquee games and/or the playoffs doesn't add that much to the construction and operation costs, and Major League Baseball's blackout policy isn't based on sellouts like the NFL, so there's less incentive to right-size the stadium. It's really just an optics issue and modern parks are designed to avoid the cavernous feel for weekday games.

I do think baseball would be better off with a lower-level league that doesn't function as a farm team. It seems many AAA markets would be more successful if they didn't have a revolving door of players. Maybe that's a void that gets filled by the independent leagues over time, I don't know.

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Best place in Nashville for a MLB stadium is the East Bank between the railroad tracks and Jefferson Street. Big enough area for a Major League park with plenty of space for parking without the need for more hideous parking garages. Nissan Stadium and the Ballpark could share parking and that would give downtown Nashville more commuter parking, which would ease traffic on Downtown's narrow streets.

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9 hours ago, nashvylle said:

Who owns the adjacent parcels around NES? 

As far as I am aware, NES owns that entire massive tract between Charlotte and Church on north/south, and between George L. Davis Blvd. and 11th Ave. North on west/east.  Everything north of Charlotte is owned by Capitol View.  About 1/4 of the tract south of Church is owned by Gibson and is for sale.   Highwoods owns about 1/2 (the recently-purchased Tennessean properties, part of which will be developed into Asurion), and the other 1/4 is made up of The Gossett and Endeavor/1200 Broadway, and a few smaller individually owned plots.

As far as parking goes, there could probably be some garages with mixed-use possibilities built on the west side of the freeway and a pedestrian bridge built across.  Also, the massive State employee lots to the NE along Charlotte on the other side of the CSX tracks could be developed into larger garages with ground level activation.

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4 minutes ago, nashvylle said:

Where could NES be relocated? 

Apparently they are looking at other sites that are undisclosed at this time.  Much of their site is sitting empty, or storing lots of old spools and equipment that is no longer in use.  They could probably exist much more efficiently on about 1/4 of the land they currently utilize in that locale.  My guess is they would still like to be somewhat centrally located, with close access to the freeway system.  

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If you would be interested in participating in a poll at NBJ on whether you would . support MLB in Nashville or not, you can do so here:

https://www.bizjournals.com/nashville/pulse/poll/do-you-want-nashville-to-land-a-major-league-baseball-team/21307492?ana=e_me_pulse&s=newsletter&ed=2018-07-23&u=blTR7Dj233GiBQ74JyYK0Q09b4ecfd&t=1532349876&j=82847751

Results so far from 354 responses:
 

Screen Shot 2018-07-23 at 7.45.32 AM.png

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^ ^ ^ I never realized the ruling was that specific.  I knew they weren't allowed to build where the sunset would be in the batter's eyes.  I figured an orientation of a Nashville ballpark on the east side of the river with the batter facing towards the south/southwest would be sufficient enough where evening sun issues would not be a problem (would be setting down the right field line, or even further to the NW in mid summer months).    Oh well.

 

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Then you'd have to deal with the ball vs shadows, which is VERY much a thing. Baseball has a lot of intricacies, lol.

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All the ballparks oriented to the SE are fairly new parks so it must not be a hard and fast rule.

By the way, NES and the Tennessean could easily relocate to MetroCenter.

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