Can Nashville Support Another Pro Sports Franchise?
It’s no secret that the Music City is one of the most rapidly growing cities in the country today. It’s an entertainment mecca, the bachelorette party capitol of the world, and has emerged as the South’s most mesmerizing destination “it city.” But, if you stop and think about the landscape of Nashville sports, it may have undergone a more drastic change than the city itself.
Hard to imagine – but 25 years ago, the NFL and NHL coming to town was a pipe dream. The Nashville Sounds have been in town since the 70s. But, until the Preds and Titans set up shop, minor league baseball was it. Now, Bridgestone Arena houses the rowdiest crowd in the NHL, the Titans are putting 10,000+ people on Broadway for a uniform release party, and Nashville SC is riding a 10-game unbeaten streak.
Yeah – the Nashville sports scene has changed dramatically.
And, if you buy what MLB insider Buster Olney is selling, it could be poised to add yet another sports franchise to its growing collection.
MLB Baseball expansion?@Buster_ESPN told us on the show today that there is some buzz to add two teams. Why #Portland and #Nashville could make the cut@JOXRoundtable @MLB @PortlandMLB @3HL1045
— Jim Dunaway (@jimdunaway) June 8, 2018
It makes sense. Nashville is smack dab in the middle of that “hole” in the MLB footprint. St. Louis, Cincinnati, and Atlanta might not be happy, considering they draw a huge portion of their fans from Nashville. But, if you’re MLB, why wouldn’t you want Nashville?
While we’re a growing city, I’m not sure we’re growing quickly enough to support a sixth professional sports franchise in town (keep in mind, MLS comes to town soon, too). So, could Nashville support a MLB team?
The answer is a cold, hard, definitive “maybe.” I don’t think there’s any shortage of entertainment options in Nashville in 2018. Yet still, all of the teams in town seem to be doing well enough. Even the new guys, Nashville SC, are setting records in the USL.
Nashville SC has sold more than 6,110 season tickets, enough to set the United Soccer League’s inaugural-season-ticket record, the team announced Tuesday morning.
Nashville SC played to a 1-1 draw with Tampa Bay on Saturday to stretch its unbeaten streak to 10 games. That is the longest active unbeaten streak in North American professional soccer, the team said in a statement.
That’s pretty wild given how ravenous of a football town Nashville once was. We’ve seen that trend evolve over time – look no further than the Preds. It’s a reflection of how well this city takes care of its own – but that may be a sappier post for a sappier day.
To me, this question really depends upon the timeline. When is MLB looking to add a team? If they want something within the next couple of years, I’d say there’s no way. At least, not without seriously jeopardizing the chances of the Sounds, Nashville SC, and the MLS succeeding.
But, these things typically take a while to develop. So, if we’re talking upwards of five years, maybe even closer to 10, I’d say Nashville stands an excellent chance of supporting another pro sports franchise.
Where you at, NBA?
PS. I’ve been banging the drum for MLB to come to Nashville for a looooooong time.
Stoney Keeley is the Editor in Chief of The SoBros Network. He is a strong supporter of Team GSD and #BeBetter. “Big Natural” covers the Tennessee Titans, Alabama Crimson Tide football, the WWE, and a whole wealth of nonsense. Follow on Twitter @StoneyKeeley
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