As the proposal for a new Tennessee Titans stadium presses forward, state and local Nashville officials have submitted an additional hotel tax to help fund the project. It would be the third major funding source if the amendment to the proposed bill passes.
On Wednesday, the proposed bill passed its first obstacle in the House finance subcommittee. Now, a full committee hearing in the House and Senate will review the bill next week. The previous hotel and motel tax rate in Nashville is set at 6%. However, if the new bill passes, it would be raised to 7% with the city using the additional 1% tax for the new stadium. According to the Tennessee General Assembly Fiscal Review Committee, the 1% would bring in at least $10 million in additional annual revenue.
Nashville Convention and Visitors Corp. CEO Butch Spyridon recently spoke with the Tennessean about the bill. He estimates the additional hotel-motel tax would bring in upwards of $20 million per year for the new Titans stadium.
“We’re running numbers on the cost and timing and are getting our arms around everything,” Spyridon said, according to the Tennessean. “We still need to sit down with council members, the mayor, and to communicate to citizens. We think the better part of the summer will be taken up with conversations on the details of this.”
Nashville Officials Weigh Options Over New Titans Stadium
It’s a complex situation as officials navigate the cost efficiency of a new stadium over renovations. Yet Spyridon made it clear that it would be an error in judgment to not build a new, enclosed stadium in Nashville by 2026. Visitors and tourists in the area would pay the majority of the hotel-motel tax. In fact, Spyridon says it would cover Nashville’s $700 million contribution over a 20-year span.
The current bill has the state accounting for $500 million, the Titans contributing $700 million, and Nashville contributing another $700 million. The numbers are still preliminary, but a new stadium will likely cost at least $2 billion.
The Tennessee Titans already tentatively agreed with Metro Nashville leaders to split renovation costs. The franchise expected around $600 million in renovations when reviewed last year. But renovation plans seemed less likely after recent design and engineering reviews. Officials realized Nissan Stadium, which opened in 1999, needed multiple unexpected upgrades and repairs. Ever since, support for a new stadium has increased since a new facility would need much less maintenance.
“There’s no bait-and-switch,” Spyridon said in response to critics of the bill. “It’s just the best tools we can come up with. It’s critical we move something along because we lost a year.”
Titans officials are also doing their due diligence as they evaluate the costs as well. The team is committed to keeping the Titans in Nashville as they await decisions from state and Metro Nashville leaders.
“We are all in on committing to our home here in Nashville,” Titans officials said, according to the Tennessean. “While we are still pursuing the best path forward for the stadium, any financing plan will involve significant private investment. We appreciate the collaboration of the State as we continue to investigate all options.”