The MLS landscape continues to show a preference to rewarding promising markets or teams that have found success at a semi-professional level. With the future introduction of a team from Minnesota and an eventual intro for Miami, the MLS seems to have zero reservations about making the league as massive as humanly possible. While the worry about creating something “too big to fail” is definitely a subject for another time (and a lingering thought for any fan of the league), the She Believes Cup attendance in Nashville, TN shows that the Tennessee might be ready to support something bigger than Nashville FC.
It’s time to put Nashville on the shortlist for the MLS and the NWSL.
Usually, you work up to your biggest point and your biggest weapon in arguing for a team, but the recent news about the ticket disparity at the She Believes Cup should have a few owners glancing towards the dirty south. With a bit over 13,000 watching in Tampa, Nashville absolutely CRUSHED that attendance (over a major Florida market…a state that the league believe should have TWO clubs) with well over 25,000 in attendance on a beautiful Sunday afternoon (and over 40,000 the last time the USMNT came to N-ville).
To think of how many a stadium in the MLS can house and still have a magical atmosphere, you need to look no further than Portland’s Providence Park. Made incredible through the Timber’s Army and other fans, the stadium seats a step below 22,000 inside its confines. Nashville would be more than capable of bringing out similar crowds to support an MLS franchise, especially considering the fact that an MLS club can thrive with a stadium that seats 18-20,000. Looking around Nissan Stadium Sunday, the entire lower bowl (a perfect height and size for a soccer-specific stadium) was packed…one need only create a stadium situation similar in build and size for this to work.
Nashville would also be a perfect rivalry with teams that are already in place within the MLS. Atlanta and Nashville for the southern/SEC ties, Nashville and Chicago would see their NHL hatred carry over (possibly St. Louis, as well), and any southern-fried team always sees some intense competition bloom between themselves and anyone perceived as any form of “yankee.” Not to mention that Nashville has no issue getting some big personalities involved in their franchises…it’s not too tough when half of the known musical world lives in your backyard.
The biggest issue for the creation of a team is simply finding the right group to push this idea through. There is no shortage of big money in N-ville, but there’s no telling whether any of them feel that the risk is worth the reward in the music city. However, with Minnesota on the future arrival list, it’s not like Nashville would be harder to create success within than Minnesota, eh?
It might be a long shot. It might not ever happen. Still, it’s worth checking out (especially before the south lets Birmingham, AL put together a legitimate shot). Maybe David Beckham should be given a call…does anybody know if he likes country music?