Titans keep pushing for new, not refurbished, stadium

NFL: NOV 14 Saints at Titans

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The Titans continue to press for a new stadium, and they continue to resist the possible refurbishment of their existing home in Nashville.

via the tennesseanTitans president/CEO Burke Nihill said that a new stadium is the best long-term solution for the team and its current hometown.

Nihill presented to the Metro Sports Authority on Thursday an analysis by AECOM Hunt construction, which concluded that Nissan Stadium will require $1.2 billion to renew with another $900 million in upgrades in order to remain relevant through 2039, the term of the current lease. That’s $2.1 billion. The new stadium is expected to cost between $1.9 billion and $2.2 billion.

The Titans, like most other NFL teams, would like to foist the bulk of the expense onto the taxpayers. Based on prior reports and public comments, the new stadium would be built with $700 million in private money — and $1.5 billion in public money, far and away a new record.

“The mayor said it last week. . . that in his opinion, doing nothing is not an option,” Nihill told reporters. “I think we’ve seen it that way for three or four years. Probably longer. Just understanding that the condition of this building, the increasing NFL standards and really all standards for building that we had to stop plugging holes and come up with a comprehensive solution. . . . The building condition of the current building [and] the inflexibility of the current building makes it hard to picture that building being a 50- or 60-year-old building, which is what it would be if we extended the lease and did the financing necessary to do a large-scale renovation.”

Giving the Titans added leverage is the notion that, per Nihill, it will cost the Metro Sports Authority $1.8 billion to keep the stadium up to snuff through 2039. Thus, the obvious alternative is to just build a new one.

Mayor John Cooper has proposed that the Titans, not the Metro Sports Authority, be responsible for stadium maintenance and improvement costs, if a new facility is built. Cooper has also asked that the Titans cover any construction cost overruns.

So the options currently are: (1) spend a lot of taxpayer money on a new stadium; (2) spend a lot of taxpayer money to meet contractual obligations to maintain and upgrade the current stadium; or (3) breach the obligations under the current lease and risk the Titans will do to Nashville what the franchise did to Houston in the 1990s — leave town.

Choose wisely, Nashville, because if the team ever gets a chance to go get elsewhere what it can’t get there, it won’t take two guesses to figure out what it will do.

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