Titans: $1.8B needed to maintain Nissan Stadium through 2039, but new stadium could cost $2.2B

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Posted at 2:16 PM, May 19, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-20 06:14:36-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — The costs of keeping Nissan Stadium updated and maintained continue to increase.

Tennessee Titans President and CEO Burke Nihill presented an updated price tag for renovations to Nissan Stadium on Thursday to the Metro Sports Authority. An updated analysis shows it will cost more money to maintain and update Nissan Stadium than the team quoted back in February.

"No one wants to hear that, but it's not a surprise," said Monica Fawknotson, executive director of Metro Sports Authority. "As the Sports Authority, the owners and landlords, we have been addressing a number of issues Burke spoke of for years so, it's not a surprise."

The team says their options are to renovate the current stadium for $900 million and spend $900 million more to maintain it through the life of the lease. On the other hand, a new domed stadium was estimated Thursday to cost between $1.9 and $2.2 billion.

Titans stadium discussion at the Sports Authority Finance meeting

Costs to maintain Nissan Stadium

Currently, the Titans' lease ends in 2029, but the team has an option to extend it an additional decade. Under that current lease created in the 1990s, taxpayers would be on the hook for some of the bill.

The Titans were asked to clarify what expenses fall under the franchise and what falls under the Sports Authority per the stadium lease. Items required to be managed by the Titans include luxury suites, locker rooms and team offices. For items deemed to have a "useful life" as described by the official lease, the Sports Authority would be partially responsible. Examples include the jumbotron — the Sports Authority is responsible for 80% of the maintenance costs, while the Titans are responsible for 20%.

The lease requires the stadium to be in "first-class condition," which was considered when making the $1.8 billion estimate.

Nihill said the current stadium has its flaws and is deteriorating in certain places. The stairs, which Nihill said are crumbling, need to be replaced, as does the water filtration system. Nihill said they have been working on the water filtration since 2016, calling it "an ongoing process that will never end."

He told the committee they need to pump 500,000 gallons of water at least once a year to prevent pipe buildup.

Costs to build a new stadium

Costs to build a new stadium are estimated between $1.9 to $2.2 billion. It would be built on existing parking lots between Nissan Stadium and the interstate and would have a roof.

A new stadium and lease would mean the team, not the Nashville taxpayers, would be paying. The state would earmark $500 million for it. Nashville Mayor John Cooper is negotiating a new lease that could cut costs for the city, but only if a brand new domed stadium is built.

Nihill told the committee the Titans are prepared to make a private investment upwards of $700 million, saying the Adams family "quite literally" put all of Bud Adams' assets into the effort to find a stadium solution.

"We believe that frankly, the Nashville way is to build a smart, thoughtful building. I think if you plop SoFi Stadium somewhere in this community, or AT&T Stadium somewhere in this community, that's not on brand for Nashville," Nihill said. "So our plan would be to lead with those principals and build something that this city is incredibly proud of, but something that is also making really smart decisions about sparing opulence and building a building on budget."

The Titans continue to maintain that the new stadium could be completed by 2026.

There is no set deadline for when the Titans and the city could reach a decision.