The vote was a first step in the process, and as the terms of the agreement are nonbinding, future negotiations between the council and the Tennessee Titans remain. Mayor John Cooper and his office have backed the proposal and served as an intermediary between the Metro Council and the NFL organization.
The Metro Council also voted to authorize a 1 percent increase in the city’s hotel tax, revenue from which will go to paying for the stadium’s construction. Other funding mechanisms include a sales tax redirect from inside the stadium and more than 100 acres surrounding it. Development of that “campus” will be a critical component of the project, as the city seeks to enlist developers in an effort to bring mixed-use structures and parks to the area in part consisting of parking lots. Metro is also seeking to study whether the area’s past and present industrial uses could have left harmful amounts of dangerous chemicals in the to-be-disturbed soil.
Other financial elements of the Titans stadium deal include $500 million from the state and a significant contribution from Titans ownership and the NFL.
Cooper’s push for the new deal has been based on his contention that the original Nissan Stadium lease that brought the Titans to town leaves the city on the hook for billions of dollars in repairs. A replacement stadium, with a new lease, his office argues, would alleviate long-term financial obligations. Opposed Metro councilmembers, citing economic research, contend that new stadiums do not create new spending, but rather redirect it from other areas, meaning the long-term sales tax redirect for the area around the stadium could mean tax revenues that otherwise would go to schools, public safety or citywide infrastructure will, instead, help pay for the stadium. Opponents also question whether repairs to Nissan Stadium would cost as much as Cooper and the team have contended.