NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – After hours of heated debate, the Titans stadium deal cleared a crucial hurdle in Metro Council early Wednesday morning. In a 25 to 11 vote, councilmembers approved the $2 billion deal with some amendments they say will benefit their constituents.
The most significant changes to the deal would establish a 3% tax on tickets for non-NFL events happening at the stadium. However, there were exceptions for events like those hosted by college and high school teams. The ticketing fee will also exclude events like the CMAs, Grammys, ACM Awards or WWE.
The mayor’s office and the Titans said they can support these changes, but previously said they couldn’t accept an amendment proposed by Councilman Brandon Taylor that would have that 3% fee go up by one percentage point every year until it reaches a cap of 10%.
Of the more than 30 amendments proposed on the deal, a majority of them were focused on giving the city protections if the state or General Assembly tries to take over.
Under the deal, more than half of the stadium would be paid for by a mix of sales taxes, hotel taxes, and money from the state. The rest will be funded privately.
However, some council members are concerned state lawmakers could change the financial structure of the deal or use the deal to hurt the city considering the Republican supermajority’s recent slate of bills to take over Nashville entities like the Sports Authority and Airport Authority.
“The state is slowly taking over the city of Nashville without saying out loud they are taking over the city of nashville, and if we don’t put safeguards in to protect ourselves in the ways we still have the power to do, ultimately, we are going to find ourselves having nothing,” said Councilwoman Ginny Welsch.
“Messing around with the rent as a retaliatory measure or something like that is not hurting the state, is not getting back at the state, is not advancing Nashville sovereignty,” said Councilman Brett Withers.
Mayor John Cooper thanked the Council for approving the proposed agreement and released the following statement:
“I appreciate Metro Council’s diligent and thoughtful consideration of this deal, and their consistent vote of confidence that this is the right move for Nashville taxpayers. I’m also proud of the transparent and thorough process conducted to consider this proposal, which has included dozens of public meetings and extensive engagement with community and neighborhood groups throughout the city. I look forward to next week’s third and final reading.”Mayor John Cooper
After Tuesday’s vote, the deal cannot be changed. The last vote on the bill is scheduled during a special session next Tuesday, April 25.