Nashville, Tenn. wants to make some money from a season-opening college football game.
The city, seeing the fun that Atlanta and Dallas have had with hosting college football games on the season's opening weekend, is exploring the idea of hosting a neutral-site game as early as 2016.
The Tennesseean reports that the game would pit an SEC team against another team from a power conference at LP Field, home of the Tennessee Titans.
Music City Sports and Entertainment Group has been working on a significant college football event for Nashville, and we are about 60-90 days from making an announcement,” said Tammy Genovese, CEO of MCSEG.
The city of Atlanta reportedly made over $44 million in last year's game between Alabama and Virginia Tech. Dallas has hosted the Cowboys Classic at AT&T Stadium and last year's game had TCU and LSU. 2014's game is between Florida State and Oklahoma State.
There's one issue blocking the game – for now. The Tennessee legislature is considering a bill that would repeal a tax on professional athletes, one of the highest in the country. It taxes NBA and NHL players and would cost Nashville $3.6 million if it was repealed.
It's money the MCSEG is counting on to use to get the game to the city through an amendment to the current tax structure rather than a repeal.
“Our business model has been built with the privilege tax as a major component to ensure our ability to attract high-profile, power-conference teams,” Genovese told the Tennessean. “So yes, our current business model won’t work if the tax is repealed. Regardless of this outcome, we will continue to explore all options to bring this event to Nashville.”
Since Vanderbilit is located in Nashville, it'd make sense that the Commodores won't be considered. It's not that much of an attraction to move a game from Vanderbilt to LP Field, is it?
The University of Tennessee is probably out for the inaugural game as well, assuming the series starts in 2016. The Volunteers are scheduled to play a game against Virginia Tech at Bristol Motor Speedway that year.
While the games wouldn't be on the same weekend – the Battle at Bristol is on September 10 – would two high-profile neutral site games in the state saturate the market? There's likely enough overlap, especially if Nashville brings in a team with a strong local base, but there probably won't be too many fans making the trip to both games.
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