May 16, 2022 - Sports

Budget shows new Titans stadium estimated to cost $2B

Photo illustration of Nashville Mayor John Cooper  with lines radiating from him.
Photo illustration: Allie Carl/Axios. Photo: Leah Puttkammer/Getty Images

The new Titans stadium project came into sharper focus last week.

  • Mayor John Cooper submitted his annual capital improvement budget showing the plan will cost $2 billion and wrote a Tennessean Op-Ed outlining the generic parameters of a deal.

Why it matters: Cooper said the city's current lease agreement with the Titans isn't working. He committed to building a new indoor stadium through taxes paid by tourists and visitors to the Titans complex, which will finance the city's portion of the project.

  • He said the stadium won't be financed with general obligation bonds — the same financing tool used to build schools, roads and other public projects with the general taxpayers' money.

Details: The capital improvement budget is a spending wish list, not a detailed spending plan. However, projects must be included in it to be legally financed.

  • Council still must approve the CIB in the coming weeks.

The intrigue: The Titans stadium wasn't the only ambitious project in the CIB. The Cooper administration also marked $500 million in infrastructure for an ambitious east bank renovation plan that has been in the works for about two years. The CIB also added funds for affordable housing and greenways on the east bank.

  • Taken together, the new stadium and the surrounding mixed-use development the football team is pursuing would completely transform the east bank of the Cumberland River.

What's next: One of the key tenets of Cooper's argument that a new stadium is a good idea for the city is that the current lease deal for Nissan Stadium is a burden for Metro.

  • Under the current deal, Metro pays for stadium upkeep and, in a more ambiguous provision, keeps the facility in a condition that matches other similarly aged stadiums.
  • Critics have argued the provision is vague, and the Titans are expected to present a report later this week with an estimate of how much the current lease deal could cost Metro.
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