Today, Nashville Mayor Megan Barry, will be meeting with Major League Soccer (MLS) officials in New York City to support the cities’ bid for an expansion franchise.
Okay, I already jumped on the fact that she more important things to do than go to New York for a soccer meeting but apparently she had already planned to be in New York for some economic development trip. Whatever that is. I guess it’s a big thing that our mayor is not only supporting Nashville’s bid but also has plans for a stadium at the fairgrounds. She will be joined today by John Ingram, the chairman of Ingram Industries Inc. who is said to be the lead investor in the Nashville group trying to get an MLS team for the Music City.
Today is the deadline for Nashville and 12 other cities to submit applications for four of the league’s expansion slots. MLS is planning to add four teams and remain at that number for several years. Other cities competing for an MLS expansion team are: Sacramento, California; St. Louis, Missouri; Tampa-St. Petersburg, Florida; San Diego, California; Charlotte, North Carolina; Cincinnati, Ohio; Detroit, Michigan; Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina; Miami, Florida; Phoenix, Arizona; Indianapolis, Indiana and San Antonio, Texas.
The favorites seem to be San Diego and St. Louis which have lost their National Football League (NFL) teams. Nashville’s chances is probably in the upper half of the group; however, Nashville’s metro population is the smallest of all the cities under consideration.
Can Nashville support an MLS team? Absolutely.
Nashville has a solid support for soccer.
In the last major soccer event that was hosted in Nashville, a match between Mexico and New Zealand in October drew over 40,000 fans. In December, Nashville was named one of 14 cities that will host matches in next year’s CONCACAF Gold Cup.
A Nashville MLS team would also have no Major League Baseball (MLB) team to compete with but the same is true for other expansion hopefuls as well.
Nashville’s bid can only be strengthened by Mayor Barry’s presence and support for Nashville’s quest to become Music Soccer City.