Nashville's Expansion MLS Franchise Still Undecided On Team Name
Nashville MLS CEO Ian Ayre said that the expansion franchise's name is "still undecided," and confirmed that the team hopes to use Nissan Stadium as a "temporary venue" for its inaugural '20 season while a new stadium is under construction at the fairgrounds, according to Joey Garrison of the Nashville TENNESSEAN. Ayre said, "We're trying to be uniquely Nashville, be ourselves and build something that is right for the city and this league." He added that the "next priority is to hire a general manager within the next four to six weeks." The club has already "interviewed candidates." Many have speculated that the Nashville SC name -- used by Nashville's USL club -- would be "adopted by the MLS club, but that's not a sure thing." Ayre said that the club "intends to discuss that question with its core supporters" (Nashville TENNESSEAN, 9/12). In Nashville, Eleanor Kennedy noted Ayre by the end of the year "hopes to have rounded out the top level of the staff, putting the organization in a good spot to hit the ground running" in '19. Ayre also "expects to roll out the team's identity" some time in Q1 of '19. Part of the "reason for the delay: He doesn't want to create confusion in the market while Nashville SC completes season-ticket renewals and gets ready" for its next USL season (BIZJOURNALS.com, 9/11).
TIME TO GET TO WORK: Nashville-based Gobbell Hays Partners architect Ron Gobbell, the lead manager of the fairgrounds construction project, said that plan is to "begin preliminary site work on the fairgrounds' new expo center by mid-October, assuming the necessary permits are obtained including a grading permit." He added that design work will "enter a more advanced phase following the council's approval." The TENNESSEAN's Garrison notes the goal is for the "first event inside the new facility to take place next summer." Gobbell said that he is "working with design and construction crews before settling on an opening date" (Nashville TENNESSEAN, 9/12). Garrison noted by moving forward with the fairground construction, MLS "averted what would have been a second stadium hold-up as Miami now looks to a public referendum in November to decide a stadium proposal there needed for an MLS expansion to South Beach." MLS Commissioner Don Garber said that it would have been "'really devastating' for everyone who had worked to bring MLS to Nashville -- but he stopped short of detailing the ramifications." He added that the Nashville MLS ownership group led by John Ingram "realized MLS needed to have a 'plan B' if the stadium was voted down." Garber: "Thankfully, we never had to pull that 'plan B' out of the drawer. There's a variety of different things that could have happened" (TENNESSEAN.com, 9/12).