Nashville, Tenn. (WKRN)- Major League Baseball opens its season up on Thursday, but Nashville remains without a team. However, the process to bring MLB to Middle Tennessee is still alive and well.
On Wednesday, News 2’s Kayla Anderson sat down with Managing Director for Music City Baseball, John Loar, who updated fans on the progress made up to this point.
Music City Baseball has spent the last few years doing its work and research, and Loar feels that the Nashville market definitely works.
The one thing Loar had a little concern with was getting enough cooperate support, but with the market changing over the last couple of years, and the addition of Oracle and Amazon, it shows a team here would bring significant revenue to MLB.
The biggest challenge now is waiting for the league to make a move, patience is key.
“We have no guarantee from baseball and no support from baseball. Until Tampa Bay and Oakland are resolved [stadium issues], expansion isn’t in the conversation,” said Loar.
In the meantime, the focus shifts towards real estate- finding a home for the future Nashville Stars. The initial plans were to build by Nissan Stadium, but Loar said that is no longer an option because they couldn’t get anything accomplished.
The primary objective now, is to take strong consideration on the Tennessee State University site. While it’s still early on, Loar thinks there might be an opportunity in that area.
“We’re just exploring whether it makes sense for the university, makes sense for the state, the city of Nashville and the neighborhood,” said Loar. Given our brand and our connection to the Negro League Baseball Museum, the name the Nashville Stars, and the history of the North Nashville neighborhood- we’ve always had this site as one of our considerations.”
Loar is still evaluating property, including land in the surrounding counties, but the main thing to keep in mind, the vision goes beyond just a baseball stadium.
“Coming in our goal was to identify a piece of real estate large enough that you can create a sports and entertainment district. As a part of that district you can build a ballpark that would be limited or would require no public financing. It would function beyond baseball,” added Loar.
Loar’s vision is to build more of an arena-like structure with a retractable roof, in order to cover and condition and use it 365 days a year. Baseball would play there 22 percent of the time, 81 games [or more with playoffs], the rest of the time it would be used for music and entertainment purposes.
32 teams in baseball would make sense, and expansion could come sooner than later. Whatever the case may be, Loar is confident Nashville will hit a home run, bringing MLB to Tennessee.