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Volume 24 No. 180


The group trying to bring MLS to Nashville yesterday "unveiled preliminary designs" for a 30,000-seat stadium that would "transform the aging Metro-owned Fairgrounds Nashville," according to a front-page piece by Joey Garrison of the Nashville TENNESSEAN. Though the project "still lacks a cost figure and financing plan, the new conceptual renderings offer the first glimpse of the vision for professional soccer at the 117-acre fairgrounds" south of downtown. Nashville Soccer Club Holdings Chair John Ingram "presented the conceptual plans with other project leaders at a special Metro Council committee meeting." Ingram said, "Having a stadium that is approved by MLS is an absolutely essential part of ultimately being successful." Ingram was joined by Nashville Mayor Megan Barry's COO Rich Riebeling, who said that the mayor's office "hopes to finalize stadium financing negotiations with Ingram in 45 to 60 days and file legislation for a stadium deal by October." The stadium is "envisioned as a 'dual-purpose' facility" in case Vanderbilt wants to "move forward with a proposal to share the stadium with MLS and make it the new home of their football team." As a member of Vanderbilt's BOT, Ingram recently "recused himself from decision-making on Vanderbilt's end regarding the stadium." The 30,000-seat stadium would be "among the larger of the new soccer-specific MLS stadiums built in recent years." Operators of the state fair, which has "called the fairgrounds home for more than a century, started a process in June to explore moving outside of Nashville" (Nashville TENNESSEAN, 8/15).

A FAMILIAR FACE:'s Brian Straus noted architectural firm HOK, "familiar to MLS fans as the designer" of Avaya Stadium and Mercedes-Benz Stadium, "produced the renderings." Ingram stressed that the renderings are "preliminary" and intended to help launch the discussion he hopes will "lead to a groundbreaking." The stadium "eventually may be served" by a light rail-line. The Fairgrounds land is owned "entirely by the city and won’t require too much red tape, or a public vote, to transfer." Ingram said that the "nature of the partnership between club and city will be defined as more meetings are scheduled" (, 8/14).

Seattle city officials yesterday said that they are "on target for completing a draft agreement to renovate KeyArena for NBA and NHL use by Sept. 12, and they hope a final deal is achieved before year’s end," according to Geoff Baker of the SEATTLE TIMES. Seattle Office of Economic Development Dir Brian Surratt told a city council arena committee meeting at City Hall that "language on a Memorandum of Understanding is already being drafted." Surratt said that city negotiators have "held three all-day sessions" with L.A.-based Oak View Group on "finer points" of their proposed $564M renovation. Some council members "expressed concern about being able to meet such a time frame." The council has "engaged its own consultant to review the city’s draft MOU with OVG after Sept. 12, but that bumps up against the start of a two-month period typically used by staffers to help finalize the city’s budget." The council will also "consider a proposal by entrepreneur Chris Hansen to build an all-private arena in the city’s Sodo District." Hansen "still has a five-year MOU in effect" from '12 that would provide him up to $200M in "public-bond funds for an arena if he can land an NBA team first." The revised, all-private Hansen proposal in Sodo is "still winding its way through the department of transportation and also could reach the council by early fall." However, the Mariners, Seahawks and Sounders have "complained that Hansen’s group has yet to negotiate a binding event scheduling deal with them" (SEATTLE TIMES, 8/15).