TSU to play at new Titans domed stadium

State set to approve lease, $500 million for project

By: - July 24, 2023 12:29 pm
Nissan Stadium, current home of the National Football League's Tennessee Titans. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Nissan Stadium, current home of the National Football League’s Tennessee Titans. (Photo: John Partipilo)

A state building panel is set to inject $500 million into a $2.1 billion domed Titans stadium on Nashville’s East Bank and approve a 30-year lease for the TSU Tigers to play there.

The State Building Commission Executive Subcommittee will take up the funding plan Tuesday after the Legislature approved bonds for the stadium proposal in 2022 with an eye toward attracting the Super Bowl, college football title games and wrestling extravaganzas. Former Gov. Bill Haslam is leading a group in recruitment efforts.

The subcommittee’s vote will authorize the Tennessee Department of Finance and Administration to put $500 million into a construction funds trust to go toward construction of the enclosed stadium, demolition of Nissan Stadium, site improvements and related work. Funds are to be returned to the state if not used. 

Critics contend publicly-funded stadium investments don’t pay for themselves, as Metro Nashville kicks in $760 million, meaning governments will fund about 60% of the project while the Titans pay $840 million plus any overruns. 

The subcommittee also will consider approval of a 30-year lease for Tennessee State University’s football program, which already plays home games at Nissan Stadium.

The TSU-Titans lease is subject to a lease term with the Metro Nashville Sports Authority, Davidson County and Tennessee Stadium, LLC, the management company for the Titans and will start when the stadium is finished, likely in two years.

TSU won’t pay rent or game-related expenses such as field setup, security, janitorial services, utilities, broadcasting and communication costs but will pay revenue-related expenses such as parking, ticket sales, event merchandise, food and beverage with revenue from sales. 

In addition, Cumberland Stadium, LP, the current stadium management company, will pay TSU’s base rent of $131,522 and game day expenses until the new stadium opens. The lease was originally to run out in 2028.

The subcommittee also will consider a $4.6 million lease for TSU students to stay at the Best Western/Residency Executive hotel and $2.5 million lease at Red Roof Inn, both on Brick Church Pike. The extra housing is necessary because of a spike in enrollment at the university.

TSU is expecting 4,329 residential students for the fall semester but has only 3,663 available bed on campus and 227 adjacent to campus at the House of God and Jefferson Flats.

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Sam Stockard
Sam Stockard

Sam Stockard is a veteran Tennessee reporter and editor, having written for the Daily News Journal in Murfreesboro, where he served as lead editor when the paper won an award for being the state's best Sunday newspaper two years in a row. He has led the Capitol Hill bureau for The Daily Memphian. His awards include Best Single Editorial and Best Single Feature from the Tennessee Press Association.