Major League Soccer (MLS) is headed to Nashville, Tenn., also known as Music City. Nashville showed interest in MLS expansion in late 2016 when 11 other cities submitted formal bids for one of four available MLS expansion teams. Nashville already has a strong soccer community with the Nashville Soccer Club joining the United Soccer League (USL) this year. Tennesseans are stoked about this news and are eager to prove to the rest of the country that Nashville is without a doubt a “soccer town.”
What is Nashville known for?
Although Nashville is a booming sports city with a passionate sports fan base, it is perhaps most known for country music, hot food and historical landmarks. In fact, downtown Nashville is home to the AT&T building, colloquially known as the Batman Building. As a mecca for entertainment, live music is always on tap every night in downtown Nashville at nearly all the bars and restaurants.
Nashville is also home to numerous casinos featuring slot machines and poker rooms. One of Nashville’s most popular casinos is Harrah’s Metropolis, which is a 24,000-square foot casino featuring over 800 slot machines as well as Texas Hold ‘Em and blackjack. There is something to do for everyone, whether you live in Nashville or you’re just visiting.
What makes Nashville a soccer city?
Being that Nashville is known for entertainment, it is the perfect place for MLS expansion because entertainment and sports go hand in hand. From people singing the blues, devouring tasty southern classics and engaging in games of poker, the city is always up to something. Plus, Nashville is no stranger to the major leagues as it is home to two major league franchises: The Tennessee Titans (NFL) and The Nashville Predators (NHL). With a third pro team invading Nashville, it is sure to create more and more sports fans in Music City.
Nashville: A League of Their Own
Although Nashville has the National Football League and the National Hockey League, both of which are very popular among Tennesseans, the sports teams aren’t the only ones with their own league in Nashville. Nashville is also home to the infamous Elite Poker League, a free league that hosts several poker games at various venues seven days a week. The Elite Poker League focuses on providing entertainment by offering free Texas Hold ‘Em games to the public, essentially offering a fun and safe environment to experience live poker. Table winners are rewarded with trips, memorabilia and gift certificates to play poker online. Heralded as one of the best in the country, you can’t come to Nashville without checking it out!
Nashville Welcomes the Expansion
The city of Nashville is overly excited about this MLS expansion. When the news of this expansion was first announced in December, Nashville’s Mayor Megan Barry said, “This is a great day for Nashville and the result of a true team effort from so many people across our wonderful city.” However, no one is more excited about this news than the Nashville Soccer Club’s biggest supporters group, The Roadies. Founded back in 2014, The Roadies pride themselves on being “first to come, last to leave.” That’s their motto, seeing as to how they tailgate three hours before a match and hang around after it’s over to thank the team. The Roadies wear blue and yellow, and they stand, chant, cheer, march and wave flags during matches; they are the epitome of support!
All about the Major League Soccer Club
Headquartered in New York City, Major League Soccer has 23 clubs throughout the United States and Canada. In the coming years, the league plans to have as many as 28 clubs, including the one in Nashville. Nashville’s MLS team will be owned by John Ingram, billionaire chairman of Ingram Industries Inc., Minnesota Vikings owners Mark Zygi, and Leonard Wilf and The Turner Family, managing partners of Nashville-based MarketStreet Enterprises.
Where will MLS matches be broadcast?
With MLS increasing in popularity, it has now caught up with Major League Baseball. MLS struck an eight-year deal with FOX Sports, ESPN and Univision to broadcast MLS matches until the end of 2022. There will be over 100 MLS matches aired throughout each year on all three networks.
There’s More to Come
The Metro Nashville City Council approved $225 million in revenue bonds to begin building a 27,500-seat, brand-new soccer stadium, and an additional $50 million in bonds to assist with renovations and improvements onsite at the current fairgrounds. The stadium is expected to be finished by March 2021. It is also said that it will be up to Ingram, the team’s owner, whether the team gets a new name. Right now, the team is expected to wear blue and yellow, which is the same colors as The Nashville Predators. All the fine details have yet to be figured out, but Music City has plenty of time, seeing as how the team’s first USL match isn’t scheduled until March 2018. In the meantime, Nashville has plenty to look forward to.