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Nashville MLS

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Does Nashville want an MLS team? Could we get one?

I would argue that Nashvillians think major league, not minor league. Minor league has its niche - medium-sized cities. Nashville has a big head for a city its size. The Sounds aren't working here because our citizens are too good to see a team from Round Rock or Albuquerque compete. Why invest in a new stadium for a minor league team when we already have a stadium outfitted for MLS at LP Field.

The 2010 census confirmed something we all recognize to be true - the Latino population (a large supporter of soccer) has migrated to Nashville and will continue to do so. Think attendance.

Soccer is an up and coming sport in the US. Nashville likes to think of itself as forward-thinking and progressive. I think garnering support for an MLS team would turn some heads.

Let's lead the MLS' expansion into the South by becoming the first Southern (Non-Texan) city to land an MLS team.

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Heck yeah, I would want one. I agree, I think Nashville has it's feet in pro league teams now. I think Nashville could support an MLS team. However, I am not sure if MLS would expand here for awhile. It seems that they consider places very specifically and at a slow rate. I think the contraction of the FL teams hurt our or another city, say Charlotte's chances. ATL seems like a good choice, but they have the reputation of a bad sports town (that's what I hear, not that I know or agree). If the Thrashers deal goes through, which 99% it should, then that will be the 2nd NHL team to move from ATL, :(. Anyways, it would be interesting to get an MLS team especially as you have pointed out since Nashville caters to a pretty large Hispanic community and even Kurdish community where soccer is more popular. Also, Nashville seems to do well when teams come here and play. Dean was also trying to land a World Cup game here too. It would be nice to see the stadium getting more use, but I am not sure MLS expansion is in the foreseeable future, at least for awhile. Heck, I would like to see a MLL team here too!!

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Abso-freaking-loutely i would like to have an MLS team! I see us as a much more viable market for MLS than MLB. And the MLS is a fantastic sport. Bigger $ than NBA in my opinion. If you've never been to a game, i highly suggest it.

Having said that, here are issues i see. Besides the league expansion problems that Timmay pointed out (and i agree), i think it will be yet another sport that has a problem winning over the White/Black southern community. The same reason the Predators were slow to grow a truly city-wide fanbase, i think the MLS would be. Football fans had the attitude towards hockey that "it's a northerners game". I think that same demographic will have the opinion that "it's a Spanish/European game". While i certainly agree that we have a Hispanic population large enough to be a great fanbase, the corporate dollars and season ticket holders won't come en mass until these other demographics embrace it.

I'm not trying to be a bigot, just calling it like i see it. I hope you guys can understand my perspective, if not, i'm sorry if i offended anyone.

The other X factor (and a big one) is Bud Adams. The city made a huge mistake by giving him exclusive dictatorship on all things LP Field and the surrounding parking lots. NOTHING happens there without Bud's ok and full revenue in his pocket. I don't see him putting anything on the field that will take a single penny away from the Titans. Keep this in mind Nashvillians when it comes time (in about 12 years) for Bud to re-up his lease (aka, "build me a new stadium or else"). We paid for the stadium and then handed the keys and deed to a guy who lives in Texas.

But the shining example of the MLS is the Seattle Sounders. They play at Quest Field (home of the Seahawks) and the city has embraced them. The crowd noise there rivals any SEC football game in November. Conversely, my local team, the San Jose Quakes have been stuck in limbo flopping from one college stadium to another (and these are very small college stadiums around 15-20k capacity). It goes to show how a nice stadium and corporate support can turn a pro-sports team from borderline-flop to money-making-dynasty. Honestly, how many of you saw the Titans play at Vanderbilt? Anyone....anyone? That's what i though. They have sold out every game at LP Field since.

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Good points. I agree completely. It all depends on the support behind the team, fans, city, and ownership/management on how the organization will fare. Maybe if Nashville did receive an expansion MLS team, we would have the die-hard fanbase and ownership the Preds have now. It will definitely go through the same non-traditional growing pains the Preds have been through. And yes, I actually did see the Tennessee Oilers play at Vanderbilt!! tongue.gif And yeah, Bud Adams does concern me. The way he treated Houston, I hope it doesn't come back and bite us.

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This city seems to constantly surprise me.. the Nashville Metros?? I had no clue..

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This discussion lead me to do a little MLS research.

Apparently, a new'ish MLS rule requires all teams to play in a "soccer specific" stadium (i think that was mentioned in the above article). Many teams started playing in NFL stadiums, but the league required them all to move to their own stadium. Some teams, like my local SJ Quakes, are still in the process. The only exception is the Seattle Sounders, who play at Quest Field (Seahawks). The league made a by-law for them. They are the most recent expansion team, so i don't know how they got an exemption, but it could have something to do with the 30k season ticket holders they have.

It seems as if the Metro's are going to try to move up in the ranks, but since they are 4th tier, i don't see them making the Major's anytime soon. Besides, we all know how well pro-sports do in a suburban setting....even if their desired demographic is nearby.

I like the article posted by Nashvillian, but i find it hard to imagine a stadium large enough to have a soccer field, while remaining intimate enough for music. What about a racetrack (fairgrounds) where the inner field could be a soccer field, surrounded by a track? The track could be converted into stadium style seats for soccer matches and removed to expose the track (with grandstands above). No, that's crazy talk.

But either way, it doesn't appear that MLS is exactly a money making venture quite yet, so maybe we should hold off. Where is that new stadium for the Sounds?

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Wow, I am surprised the Metros are still around. I think this is a good way to go about getting an MLS team here. Take a few steps at a time, instead of a giant leap.

Edited by timmay143

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Apparently, the Soccer powers that be love Nashville.

The Olympic Soccer qualifying rounds will be held in Nashville, Southern California and Kansas City. Too bad the US didn't get the World Cup. I am confident Nashville would have been a host city.

Hmmm... if Nashville built a new minor league baseball stadium, could Greer Stadium be converted to a soccer specific stadium like the MLS requires?

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That is a great idea! I could definitely support that and see it as a possibility.

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Apparently, the Soccer powers that be love Nashville.

The Olympic Soccer qualifying rounds will be held in Nashville, Southern California and Kansas City. Too bad the US didn't get the World Cup. I am confident Nashville would have been a host city.

Hmmm... if Nashville built a new minor league baseball stadium, could Greer Stadium be converted to a soccer specific stadium like the MLS requires?

Sorry to bump this, but with the MLS season about to start I got to wondeing if Nashville could, in fact, be a viable expansion city for the MLS. Instead of converting Greer, I would prefer to see a new stadium built as a dual-use stadium. Not sure if that'd be feasible or even wanted, but I would not want to see an MLS team get stuck out in a converted Greer or another relatively inaccessible part of the city where they would maybe last two seasons before moving elsewhere. For soccer to succeed in Nashville, it'll need to be high profile, with some really good marketing and a nice 15-20k person stadium that can draw in a good crowd (but is small enough to be fillable).

Philadelphia managed to do something similiar with PPL Park for the Union, although their choice of property is impressive. They built an 18,000 person stadium that they can sell out almost every game with, but they built it to be expandable, so that they can put an upper deck on it and expand it up to 30,000 as the need arises. It was put down on the waterfront in Chester, a suburb to the south that has a less-than-stellar crime rate (read: one of the most dangerous cities in the country, so much so that they had a curfew for a while), but it's part of a really beautiful waterfront rehabilitation project that has done a lot for the area, and really manages to make the most of the situation, complete with a new freeway exit. If Nashville wanted to build over Greer with a soccer stadium, they'd have to pull off something like that.

The news these Olympic trials garner though will be a pretty good gauge as to interest in Nashville.

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This discussion lead me to do a little MLS research.

Apparently, a new'ish MLS rule requires all teams to play in a "soccer specific" stadium (i think that was mentioned in the above article). Many teams started playing in NFL stadiums, but the league required them all to move to their own stadium. Some teams, like my local SJ Quakes, are still in the process. The only exception is the Seattle Sounders, who play at Quest Field (Seahawks). The league made a by-law for them. They are the most recent expansion team, so i don't know how they got an exemption, but it could have something to do with the 30k season ticket holders they have.

I believe the reason that the Sounders got the exemption for Quest Field is that it was specifically designed as a dual use Soccer/Football stadium. They have specially made tarps that cover off the top deck, so you end up seeing big billboards with the team names and sponsors instead of empty chairs. The branding of both the Sounders and the Seahawks is on the stadium as well, and they arguably have almost as big a presence there as the football team.

Just got back from a trip to Seattle this week, took a great shot of the stadium from the Smith Tower, which I'll have to post up when I get it downloaded off my camera...

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I've often wondered about the feasibility of using existing rail lines to support some type of rail shuttle service between the current Greer Stadium and the Gulch. The would open up parking and restaurant and retail options for at night at the ballpark/football pitch.

RailShuttle.jpg

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I've often wondered about the feasibility of using existing rail lines to support some type of rail shuttle service between the current Greer Stadium and the Gulch. The would open up parking and restaurant and retail options for at night at the ballpark/football pitch.

The network of rail lines in Nashville have always seemed to me just asking for development into commuter or regional line service. They go through a lot of areas that are densely populated, parallel major roadways, and seem to always go near points of interest. Problem is, these are still run by freight lines, which will always give priority to their more profitable freight service, which is half the reason that Amtrak is so terrible outside of the areas where they have dedicated rights of way. Most of these lines are only single-track lines, too, which limits the frequency of service. In order to run any kind of quality system, you HAVE to have double-track service. Heck, the old Pennsylvania Railroad lines behind my house that Amtrak and SEPTA use now have four tracks, which is necessary for having both local commuter service, rush hour express commuter service, and intercity service. The local trains use outside tracks, the express trains use either, depending on the time of day, other services, etc., and the intercity trains almost always use the inside tracks. This also means that if a section of track is closed, there are three others that can be used, meaning maintenance and repair does not shut down or severely affect service.

As long as Nashville is only willing to run on existing lines without upgrading them to dual track systems, it won't work. Now, if they're all only a few miles long, so that trains only run from one end to the other every 15 or 30 minutes, not necessitating multiple trains on one line, then there may be something to it...

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If Nashville were to get an MLS team, why wouldn't they just use the Titans stadium?

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If Nashville were to get an MLS team, why wouldn't they just use the Titans stadium?

The MLS has stated that all new expansion teams will ahve to have a dedicated stadium for the team. Look what Houston has done for the Dynamo.

I wish that not only would soccer take off but rugby as well. If America could only realize the gold mine that rugby truly is.

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The MLS has stated that all new expansion teams will ahve to have a dedicated stadium for the team. Look what Houston has done for the Dynamo.

I wish that not only would soccer take off but rugby as well. If America could only realize the gold mine that rugby truly is.

Rugby is a lot of fun, made it out to the College 7s tourney that was in Philadelphia at PPL park, and it was a pretty good time. However, I think there is much more of a base for soccer in the US. It does have a pretty long history here, and there's a generation of kids that grew up playing that now have enough cash on hand to get to enough professional matches to make it worth while. Rugby just doesn't seem to have that cultural background or mass appeal yet, still is just that funny game that New Zealanders, Australians, and South Africans play. Not to say it won't take off in the next 10 or 15 years, but I don't see it being as big as MLS any time soon.

Oddly enough, MLS now has higher per-game attendance than the NBA, and select teams have higher per-game attendance than the NHL average. If I'm recalling correctly, here in Philly the ranks are as follows for per-game attendance averages 1) Eagles 2) Phillies 3) Union 4) Flyers 5) Sixers. I could be transposing Union and Flyers, but I'm too lazy to look it up at the moment...

If Nashville were to get an MLS team, why wouldn't they just use the Titans stadium?

I really hope they don't do that. No way they could make a 60k+ stadium look anything more than a third full for the first season or so. And when you're watching a game on TV or you head out to see it live, and the stadium looks deserted, do you really want to go back? Soccer is all about the energy in the stadium, much more so than most other sports. And you can't have that if everyone is 5 seats from the next person.

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I agree. Would love to see an MLS team here in Nashville. The MLS has been smart with their growth, not wanting the same thing that happened to the NASL back in the 70's. But the MLS has seen nothing but growth and is currently in better financial footings than the NHL. In many ways, Soccer makes more sense than Hockey in the majority of the U.S. as it is something that anyone can go out and play at anytime. With the amount of people that grow up playing it here, many of them children of immigrants, it creates a talent base for potential players right here. Nashville also has several (at least 3)thriving adult leagues, one of which is a very competitive Latino league. Atlanta would be very attractive, as would Charlotte or Raleigh, but I hope they consider Nashville as well.

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Portland is not much larger than Nashville and they have their own stadium. I could see it woking here, especially with the Hispanic and middle eatern population here. Soccer is very big within those two groups and growing in the rest of the US as well. i think it would be a bold move but possible.

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Went to the Philadelphia Union game yesterday against the Columbus Crew, and I couldn't help but think how great it'd be for nashville to have a soccer specific stadium somewhere along the banks of the Cumberland, much like what they have done with PPL Park alongside the Delaware here in Philadelphia (well, its suburb Chester). A 15,000-18,000 seat stadium would be perfectly manageable, and would be likely to fill up at least semi-regularly. Surely with a little advertising they can find 18,000 people within an hour and a half of Nashville to show up for a game if they keep tickets reasonably priced.

And honestly, even though Philadelphia does have a very large Hispanic population, they're not an inordinately large portion of the fan base. The majority of the people you see are English speaking black and white middle class sports fans, or families with kids that are soccer fans because they've grown up playing it. I think this would play well with Nashville's growing "hipster" set, too. It's a sport that's a little different, kind of avante garde still in the United States, and it offers a completely different experience than that which is available at baseball, football or hockey.

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We have a stadium...

 

GreerStadium_zps277635eb.jpg

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Dang it, that second-rate town in decline in Georgia can manage to get a team, why can't we?!

 

http://www.mlssoccer.com/news/article/2014/04/16/major-league-soccer-names-atlanta-22nd-franchise-set-2017-debut

 

(I'm a little bitter...)

 

 

 

I thought MLS required a dedicated stadium for all new teams? Also, had to laugh at this one a little bit..."Georgia is home to some of the most passionate sports fans in the country,"...sorry, maybe passionate about other teams outside of Georgia...

 

 

 

 

Edited by TnNative

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Dang it, that second-rate town in decline in Georgia can manage to get a team, why can't we?!

 

http://www.mlssoccer.com/news/article/2014/04/16/major-league-soccer-names-atlanta-22nd-franchise-set-2017-debut

 

(I'm a little bitter...)

 

I think that pretty much put a nail in the coffin for the chances of Nashville getting a team anytime soon. Not being a downer, just being realistic.

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