Mar 7, 2023 - News

Funding pitched for women's pro sports efforts

The WNBA logo. Photo: Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

Nashville's pursuit of a women's professional sports franchise could be boosted by two new funding proposals.

Why it matters: Nashville has poured billions of dollars into men's pro sports stadiums and subsidies over the last 25 years. Advocates say it's time to expand to women's pro sports.

Driving the news: First, Metro Councilmember Nancy VanReece is proposing that women's pro sports be added as a potential use for the Nashville Needs Impact Fund — which the Titans would bankroll as part of their agreement with the city for a new stadium. The fund is designed to support a wide range of community priorities, such as housing, education and transit.

  • Second, VanReece has proposed allocating a combined $60 million for practice facilities for WNBA and National Women's Soccer League franchises. That proposal is part of the capital improvements budget, which is an annual wish list of future projects.

What they're saying: VanReece, who serves on the joint committee working to bring a women's team here, wants the city to put its money where its mouth is.

  • She says the funding proposals would make clear to possible ownership groups that Nashville is serious about becoming a women's pro sports town.

Catch up quick: Led by attorney Margaret Behm, the nonprofit Nashville Sports Council and the Metro Sports Authority have worked in tandem for nearly two years to recruit a women's pro team. After research led by a top consultant, the focus has zeroed in on a basketball or soccer franchise.

The early success of the Nashville SC, as well as the strong attendance for U.S. women's national soccer team matches in Nashville, are evidence that an NWSL franchise would do well in Nashville, VanReece says.


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