The commissioner of Major League Soccer made a special announcement in Nashville confirming that Music City has been tapped to get another professional sports team.
The announcement was held at 4 p.m. Wednesday and featured MLS Commissioner Don Garber, Mayor Megan Barry, Governor Bill Haslam, and John R. Ingram with Nashville Soccer Holdings LLC. Retired American soccer play Taylor Twellman was the emcee.
Tuesday’s announcement wasn't an official confirmation, that came with the announcement on Wednesday when the commissioner confirmed Nashville would be MLS' 24th team.
"In our lifetimes, there are only so many, a handful, of days like this when you can come together to make an announcement to welcome a professional team at the highest level, and this is one of those days," Ingram said. He added "We live in a city that works together, and a city that thinks big."
“Nashville is a rising city with a passionate soccer fan base, a dedicated ownership group, and civic leaders that truly believe in this sport,” said Commissioner Garber. “Nashville continues its ascent as one of America’s most dynamic communities, with its incredible energy and creativity. For us, that makes it a perfect place for MLS expansion. John Ingram and his partners had a plan to bring MLS to Nashville during the last year, and they executed it at every level. Thanks to their vision, the soccer fans of Tennessee will soon have their own MLS club and a state-of-the-art soccer stadium that undoubtedly will be a centerpiece of the community.”
They also played a video about everything they feel Nashville has had to offer leading to the decision to bring a team to Music City. It ended with the words "Music City is Soccer City."
Nashville was one of four finalists to be awarded one of two MLS expansion teams – MLS recently narrowed down the contenders to Cincinnati, Detroit, Nashville, and Sacramento.
Commissioners took a final vote last week, but the results were secret till the announcement Wednesday.
Nashville has already shown big support for soccer. The largest soccer crowd in state history attended Nissan Stadium for the International Champions Cup back in July.
In November, Metro Council approved funding for a brand new $225 million stadium at The Fairgrounds Nashville.
Fair Board Chairman Ned Horton released the following statement:
“The Fair Board is excited about the opportunity to work with stakeholders to plan nearly $40 million in improvements that is part of the stadium deal. Detailed planning will begin after the first of the year with an emphasis on accommodating our partners at the Flea Market, Tennessee State Fair, racing, and other expo events. We are proud of the success of The Fairgrounds and its events, despite long-standing infrastructure, technology, equipment and aesthetic issues. Our progress over recent years is a testament to the staff, dedicated event promoters and vendors, and the 1.5 million guests that visit each year. We look forward to enhancing the appeal of The Fairgrounds so that even more Nashvillians can experience all it
Several vendors have spoken out against the stadium at The Fairgrounds saying they don't think it will be good for their businesses.
However, on Wednesday, leaders with The Fairgrounds said they're "committed to minimizing operational impacts during improvement efforts at the property."
“We are open for business and will continue to host events through the design and construction phases of this exciting project," said Executive Director Laura Schloesser, of The Fairgrounds Nashville. "We have strengthened our partnership with the Flea Market and its Vendor Association, and we appreciate their cooperation. Make no mistake about it -- the Flea Market will continue to operate, and we are committed to working side-by-side with them and other event promoters as we plan for the future.”