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Nashville, as MLB Expansion Market

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24 minutes ago, Rockatansky said:

Pass.

Also, calling MLS a 'big' sport is, in my eyes, inappropriate. The league has yet to clear a billion $ in annual revenue.

Keep in mind there are only 24 teams. Imagine what the league will be in 10 years at 28 or 30 teams. 

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First off, I don't doubt that MLB has done some homework on the viability of expansion or relocation in markets they do not currently inhabit. The fact that Nashville has been mentioned a lot lately is not really surprising. We've been mentioned for -- and landed -- a number of things that would have been dismissed as a pipedream 10-20 years ago. And I am sure that MLB has been watching how this city galvanized support behind the Predators during their Cup run, and how everyone seemed to come together for the MLS bid, and how in the world a city this size would bring a 5 digit crowd to a jersey reveal on a weeknight with subpar weather. So it makes perfect sense that we would be on their radar. Even if we are smaller than some of the other mentions, I think you can make the argument that we're a better sports town, overall.

I think the bottom line for MLB isn't how many butts are in the seats. Look around the league. Half-empty stadiums are commonplace. I'm not sure if this is still the case, but due to the TV deal, certain teams used to turn a profit before opening day.

What MLB wants is a city/owner that will pay an expansion fee and build a stadium. That's more or less the bottom line. If the choice is between Nashville and <insert city here> and Nashville has an deep-pocketed owner lined up, and the city is prepared to fund a stadium, and the other city doesn't have their ducks in a row....well...guess who will get awarded a team (see: MLS last year).

 

All that said -- should we get a team. That is my question. And right now, I'm heavily leaning towards no. The timing is not right. We are the IT city, yes, but I think we have a lot on our plate right now. And a lot more in our near future.

 

The main reasons why I think it would be a bad idea:

1) Stadium funding/major capital project debt for Metro

-An MLB stadium will cost somewhere between $700 million to $1 billion+. Another Music City Center, if you will. While we're still paying for the (what would be) defunct First Tennessee Park. While we're still paying for the actual Music City Center. While we're finishing up paying for Nissan Stadium and looking at the prospects of building a new facility (which would be more than an MLB stadium, btw). Oh, and we're about to drop a quarter of a billion on an MLS Stadium? Add that to it. So unless we get a super rich benevolent owner that is willing to finance the majority of the stadium cost.....well....

2) Overextension of sports/entertainment dollars in the Nashville area

-Both in terms of regular citizens and corporate sponsorships. We have a lot going on. 8 home NFL games and 41 home NHL games, not to mention whatever soccer will bring us, plus various college sports. Add in arts, theatre, concerts, whatever else....how much can we afford as a community? It's not as if there is a dearth of entertainment here. And I'm all for competition, but that can come at a cost when it is too much. 

3) Timing

-Related to the above. If....IF we wanted a MLB team, I think we should have held out instead of A) building a new stadium for the Sounds and B) pursuing the MLS.  The combined cost of those decisions is probably half of what it would cost to fund a Major League park. And I'm not saying those decisions were wrong (well, OK, I will admit that I think that First Tennessee Park was rushed, has a subpar design and building materials, and isn't worth what we paid for it), but we did choose a path. When you take every opportunity that comes in front of you, you're probably going to miss on a few big ones just because of timing. We may very well get an MLB team here...but I think it would be best if it is 10-15 years down the road.

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21 minutes ago, ZestyEd said:

Tampa Bay Rays game tonight!  Nashville Sounds pulls in a better crowed during the week than this place. 

6D698594-08F3-43C2-8827-22794BCFD768.jpeg

It never ceases to amaze me how much professional sports teams underperform attendance-wise in Florida. You’d think it would be such a great market but it seems that teams are just perpetually coming there and staying due to perceived potential. But they’ll keep a team with 8,000 attendance in Tampa because it’s a bigger media market, rather than put the team in Nashville where the minor league team already averages around 10,000 attendance. 

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It won't happen and baseball as a whole is the major league sport that seems to be losing overall appeal and attendance really. It's pretty cut and dry, with the only excitement mainly being the post-season. 

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On 7/23/2018 at 3:33 PM, Rockatansky said:

Pass.

Also, calling MLS a 'big' sport is, in my eyes, inappropriate. The league has yet to clear a billion $ in annual revenue.

This didn’t seem right to me, so I checked. It looks like MLB surpassed $10 billion in revenue for 2017. https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/mlb/2017/11/22/mlb-revenues-exceed-10-billion/890041001/

That compares favorably to the NBA ($7.4bilion) but is lower than the nfl ($14 billion). 

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2 hours ago, Hey_Hey said:

This didn’t seem right to me, so I checked. It looks like MLB surpassed $10 billion in revenue for 2017. https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/mlb/2017/11/22/mlb-revenues-exceed-10-billion/890041001/

That compares favorably to the NBA ($7.4bilion) but is lower than the nfl ($14 billion). 

But wasn't he talking about MLS?

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4 hours ago, Hey_Hey said:

This didn’t seem right to me, so I checked. It looks like MLB surpassed $10 billion in revenue for 2017.  https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/mlb/2017/11/22/mlb-revenues-exceed-10-billion/890041001/

That compares favorably to the NBA ($7.4bilion) but is lower than the nfl ($14 billion). 

He’s talking about soccer. Baseball is a big sport, nobody denies it. The MLS is arguably a Ponzi scheme though. 

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I would love to see an MLB team in Nashville especially an American League team. I could see it working here and truthfully the attendance would be close to the mid-pack level. Much better than the 12,000 to 15,000 lower end but I don’t think they could average the upper 30’s to lower 40’s. I lived in Tampa for a couple of years and I can tell you about that stadium and why the stadium is empty. The stadium really isn’t that ugly it has a great amenities in it and once you are in it, it does look different. The artendance, I hate to say it but it is true people in Tampa are lazy and don’t want to do much if it isn’t right outside their door. Meaning less than 5 Miles, the Rays play in St Pete which the population isn’t close to Tampa and the people from Tampa refuse to go because they have to cross those horrible bridges as the locals call them. 

 

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19 hours ago, Pdt2f said:

It never ceases to amaze me how much professional sports teams underperform attendance-wise in Florida. You’d think it would be such a great market but it seems that teams are just perpetually coming there and staying due to perceived potential. But they’ll keep a team with 8,000 attendance in Tampa because it’s a bigger media market, rather than put the team in Nashville where the minor league team already averages around 10,000 attendance. 

2 hours ago, cda said:

I lived in Tampa for a couple of years and I can tell you about that stadium and why the stadium is empty. The stadium really isn’t that ugly it has a great amenities in it and once you are in it, it does look different. The artendance, I hate to say it but it is true people in Tampa are lazy and don’t want to do much if it isn’t right outside their door. Meaning less than 5 Miles, the Rays play in St Pete which the population isn’t close to Tampa and the people from Tampa refuse to go because they have to cross those horrible bridges as the locals call them. 

Two semi-connected demographic differences that make Florida sports teams less successful than the size of their media markets would suggest:

  • Highest proportion of over-65 residents of any state
  • Highest proportion of non-native residents (i.e., not born/raised in Florida) of any state

So generally the people who live there are either rooting for teams from where they came from or they have better ways to enjoy their retirement. Nobody is moving from the northeast to Florida to get season tickets to the Jaguars, after all.

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14 hours ago, titanhog said:

But wasn't he talking about MLS?

Oops. My mistake. I mentally registered that as “MLB”.  MLS revenues less than $1 billion is believeable. 

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1 hour ago, Hey_Hey said:

Oops. My mistake. I mentally registered that as “MLB”.  MLS revenues less than $1 billion is believeable. 

Thanks for the research though! I’m actually surprised that the MLB makes more than the NBA. I work with a lot of NBA fans and know veeeerrrry few big baseball fans so I guess I just hear more about the NBA. I’m assuming a lot of the MLB money and power rests in the northeast, Midwest, and west coast. 

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10 hours ago, cda said:

I would love to see an MLB team in Nashville especially an American League team. I could see it working here and truthfully the attendance would be close to the mid-pack level. Much better than the 12,000 to 15,000 lower end but I don’t think they could average the upper 30’s to lower 40’s. I lived in Tampa for a couple of years and I can tell you about that stadium and why the stadium is empty. The stadium really isn’t that ugly it has a great amenities in it and once you are in it, it does look different. The artendance, I hate to say it but it is true people in Tampa are lazy and don’t want to do much if it isn’t right outside their door. Meaning less than 5 Miles, the Rays play in St Pete which the population isn’t close to Tampa and the people from Tampa refuse to go because they have to cross those horrible bridges as the locals call them. 

 

Yet, I think a city with a "Skyway" is cool and would always want to make that trip! 

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On 8/24/2018 at 6:33 PM, tragenvol said:

Bronx Bombers must be in town.

Actually is was the Red Sox and the Rays swept them. So basically when the Rays made the WS a couple years ago all the fans came out of the woodwork and now they have crawled away again, almost like termites....

Edited by Bos2Nash

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I went to a Red Sox, Marlins game in Miami a few years ago and the stadium was full of Sox fans. They are loyal.

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There was an article in the now defunct City Paper a few years before it's demise (article probably 2010/2011ish) when Tampa Rays were rumored to be looking at Nashville.  I wish I could somehow find it, but haven't been able to.  It put forth an extremely in-depth analysis to say Nashville is too small of a market to support MLB, NFL, and NHL.  MLB demanded the highest combination of population, per capita income, and Fortune 500 companies to succeed.  At the time, if both NFL and NHL were eliminated Nashville still wouldn't quite be able to fully support MLB.  It also stated Nashville was currently a little under the level to properly support both NFL and NHL.  Going to quite a few Titans and Preds games at the time and seeing the empty seats really put the numbers on paper in perspective.  My hunch would be the last decade or so has got Nashville in a spot where it can fully support NFL and NHL.  When you combine that fact with possible MLS coming, there is just no realistic way Nashville could support MLB on top of everything else.

I went to St Louis a few weeks back to catch a Brewers/Cardinals game and absolutely loved what they've done with their baseball stadium and surrounding area experience.  Something like that in Downtown Nashville would be incredible.  But...I don't see it happening unless Titans leave and MLS falls through.

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