Vanderbilt University could decide down the road to play football games at a proposed MLS stadium, details of which were released this week.
On Monday, leaders behind Nashville’s MLS expansion bid presented design concepts for a new stadium that would be built to host a franchise. Should Nashville secure an MLS entry, the proposed stadium would be constructed at The Fairgrounds Nashville and, if needed, could be designed to be utilized for other events. (Our sister site, Soccer Stadium Digest, took a closer look at the proposal this week.)
That plan could allow it to host Vanderbilt football, should the university decide to enter a partnership to use the facility. The stadium’s projected capacity would fall in the range of 33,000 to 35,000 football, smaller than the program’s current home, the 40,350-capacity Vanderbilt Stadium. Vanderbilt athletic director David Williams says that the university is interested in exploring the possibility of using the stadium for some events. Data, meanwhile, shows that the MLS stadium could meet recent crowd sizes for football games. More from The Tennessean:
“We’ll be very interested in exploring with the ownership group the possibilities of playing some football games and soccer games at that new stadium,” Williams said. “If we think it emerges that this vision provides an opportunity for our team, our fans and our community, we are very, very open to exploring that possibility.”
The estimated seating capacity of an MLS-Vanderbilt shared stadium would align with the Commodores’ recent crowd sizes for home football games.
Last season, Vanderbilt reported an average attendance of 31,242 for its six homes games at the current stadium, which seats 40,350. That put Vanderbilt’s attendance at 77.4 percent capacity, the second-lowest mark in the SEC, according to the conference office.
Missouri reported a 73.4 percent capacity for its home games. Kentucky was at 87.9 percent capacity. And the remaining 11 SEC teams had a home capacity of greater than 95 percent.
Numerous factors will play into whether Vanderbilt could have a role with the new stadium, as backers of the MLS bid still have some areas to address before the proposal could event become a reality. Among those are funding for the project, and a successful push to join MLS.
Renderings courtesy HOK Architects.
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