Titans Stadium Could Need $1.3 Billion Government Subsidy, Maybe All Numbers Melt Into Air – Field of Schemes


One of the basic tenets of media criticism is the concept of management: News is news, but the element of the story that journalists choose to present as the main takeaway can be even more important than what they choose to report.

And with that in mind, let’s take a look at WKRN-TV’s latest story from Nashville on a project Tennessee Titans stadium and how it could be paid. The title:

Titans ownership group ready to invest $700 million in new stadium, chairman Sexton says

Good news, everyone! Titans owner Amy Adams Strunk is willing to invest a lot of money in her own project that will only benefit her, but nonetheless, $700 million is undeniably a lot of money. (Assuming that Tennessee House Speaker Cameron Sexton, who is the only source on this, is accurate in his description of how much money Strunk will actually put up.) How does this change the overall stadium financing plan?

News 2 has learned where part of the estimated $2 billion to fund the project came from. Tennessee House Speaker Cameron Sexton told WTN 99.7 this morning that the Adams Family, the Titans’ ownership group, is ready to invest $700 million in the construction of a new stadium. The $700 million is in addition to Governor Bill Lee’s proposal of $500 million from the state.

WKRN leaves the heavy math as an exercise for its readers, so let’s help them out a bit: $2 billion minus $700 million minus $500 million leaves a funding gap of about $800 million. In a separate post, WKRN says, “Titans and Metro Nashville should come up with the rest of the money,” which seems like a major omission, and worthy of a headline more like “Titans Stadium May Need Public Subsidy $1.3 billion”. .” (I got you covered there, WKRN.)

Now, there are still a lot of known unknowns here: that $2 billion build figure is an estimate, to begin with, so the budget hole could be smaller or larger than $800 million. And, you know, it’s always possible that Strunk (or Sexton) won’t count naming rights or seat license fees as going towards the Titans’ share, even though team owners invariably like to include those things in their “private contribution,” regardless of the actual owner of the stadium whose name is being sold.

Sports Illustrated’s Titans fan site, meanwhile, writes that “combined Adams family, city and state commitments total $1.9 billion, consistent with estimates of the cost of a new stadium given recent comparable projects across the country” – this while Nashville Mayor John Cooper told WKRN: “There is no commitment from Metro. It’s unclear what the actual costs are, and they won’t be a best estimate for some time, likely this summer. The fog of stadium wars is thick, indeed, but you would think the whole point of having news media is to try and cut out some of that, or at least flag when elected officials don’t. are just throwing around numbers without any real details. No? Is it just chasing clicks? Oh, well, go on then, I’m sure there won’t be any significant implications for democracy or anything.


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