Funding for a new Tennessee Titans stadium was removed from the state budget by lawmakers, only to be restored during final negotiations between the House and the Senate concluding last week.
What was removed and restored: $500 million in bonding, making up a state share of the projected $1.9 billion budget for a covered stadium to replace Nissan Stadium.
What swayed lawmakers: by pushing for a much more ambition plan for a covered stadium instead of a renovated Nissan Stadium, the city and the Titans transformed the facility from just a football stadium to an entertainment venue capable of hosting events like Final Fours and Super Bowls. From The Tennessean:
“When you decide to do a dome type of facility, all of a sudden we go from a football dominated venue to an entertainment dominated venue,” said House Speaker Cameron Sexton, R-Crossville. “It only multiplies who it can bring in and what it can do.”
The House passed the Titans funding by a 71-19 vote, with three present members not voting. The Senate passed the funding in an 18-13 vote.
“The Senate was always uncomfortable with the Titans bond authorization,” Lt. Gov. Randy McNally, R-Oak Ridge, said. “That was clear both on the floor and in committee. But ultimately, with a $52 billion budget you cannot let the perfect be the enemy of the good. The budget funds the critical priorities of both the administration and the legislature. It provides tax relief as well as increases the rainy fund to historic levels. It is a budget all Tennesseans can be proud of.”
In either words, compromise carried the day.
The financial plan for the proposed Tennessee Titans stadium calls for $500 million backed by new sales-tax revenue generated by the stadium and associated development at the Nissan Stadium site. Nashville is reportedly looking at a 1 percent hike in the hotel tax, from 6 percent to 7 percent, to cover the city’s expected $700 million contribution to the project. The Titans would pick up $700 million in costs as well.
Conceptual rendering of stadium and associated development courtesy Tennessee Titans.
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