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NASHVILLE, Tenn. The Tennessee Titans have taken a step closer to funding a new closed stadium estimated to cost between $ 1.9 billion and $ 2.2 billion.
The Tennessee Legislature approved $ 500 million in bonds late Thursday night for a closed stadium. The proposal now goes to Gov. Bill Lee’s desk where the Republican is expected to sign the agreement.
“It was a big step and we are very grateful to the governor and the legislature for their support and for their cooperation,” Titan President and CEO Burke Nihill told the Associated Press on Friday. “But there is still a lot of work to be done.”
About two-thirds of the estimated cost of the stadium has been taken into account with $ 500 million in government bonds and $ 700 million from Titans’ owners. The rest of the funding is still to be arranged, and talks between Titans and Nashville officials have been going on for several months.
Ownership and maintenance of the new stadium is also still unclear.
Nashville currently owns and leases the Nissan Stadium to the Titans. The stadium opened in 1999 in the deal that lured the then Houston Oilers to Tennessee in 1997, and an original renovation plan ended when costs doubled to $ 1.2 billion. The current lease requires Nashville taxpayers to pay for maintenance and upgrades.
Nihill said they meet regularly with Nashville officials to work through these “complexities.”
The NHL’s Nashville Predators agreed to a revised 30-year lease in May 2019 to eventually complete Nashville’s required maintenance and upgrade payments at Bridgestone Arena, and replace money from sales and ticketing fees.
Not all state legislators agree on the benefits of Tennessee helping the Titans.
“Let them use their own damn money to invest them. I do not think they should use Tennessee taxpayers, and I am not ashamed to stand up for taxpayers in Tennessee,” Republican Jerry Sexton shouted on the floor of the house. He added that he did not want the Legislature to behave like “all the waking places.”
Nihil noted that controlling owner Amy Adams Strunk and the Adams family have already paid for the expansion of the team’s headquarters to be wrapped up in a “massive investment.” The family has been working for months to free up money for the stadium project with an already sold farm.
“They will continue to do so because they are ready to make as big an investment as they possibly can, in a new building and in Nashville,” Nihil said.
The Buffalo Bills are the latest team to get help from county and city officials to pay to get a new stadium. The Bills are moving into a $ 1.4 billion stadium built across the street from their existing facility, which was built in 1973 and is the NFL’s fourth oldest. New York and the county are committing $ 850 million with owners Terry and Kim Pegula, and the NFL is paying for the rest.
Both the Titans and Bills are aiming for the start of the 2026 season to open their new stadiums.
Nashville and Buffalo may be queuing up to host an upcoming Super Bowl after they move into their new home.
The NFL has awarded the Super Bowls to Minnesota, Atlanta, Los Angeles and Las Vegas recently after those teams opened new stadiums.
“Undoubtedly, Nashville would bid for a Super Bowl, and it is our hope and expectation that Nashville would be a pretty convincing bid if it had a stadium with a roof,” Nihill said.
The Titans’ new stadium would be built in the parking lots between Nissan Stadium and Interstate 24. Team officials hope to have reproductions and designs for the fall that will determine whether the stadium will have a fixed roof or a retractable roof along with the number of seats and a final discretion.