Tennessee split on publicly funding stadiums

Published 5:31 pm Monday, October 30, 2023

THE CENTER SQUARE

Tennessee voters were even on their opposition or support of publicly-funded stadiums in a new Beacon Center poll.

The nonprofit policy center that supports free market solutions to public policy polled 1,181 potential Tennessee voters and found that 35% support publicly funding stadium such as the Tennessee Titans and Minor League Baseball stadiums in Knoxville and Chattanooga. Another 34% oppose the funding with 22% saying they are neutral and 8% unsure.

East Tennessee voters showed more support for public stadium funding at 39% with those in Middle Tennessee at 35% support and West Tennessee at 30% support.

The Titans are scheduled to open a new $2.1 billion stadium in 2027 using $1.2 billion in public funding for construction and a $3.1 billion tax capture to pay of Nashville’s bonds and pay for future infrastructure and maintenance.

The state also approved tax capture deals for the Chattanooga Lookouts and Tennessee Smokies in Knoxville while Memphis is looking for more than $600 million in total to renovate stadiums while building a new soccer-specific stadium.

The poll also asked if voters approved of new name, image or likeness (NIL) college sports rules that allow athletes to get paid through sponsorships with 52% approving and 19% against the rules.

Of those showing interest in college football in the poll, 74% are Tennessee fans with 7% Alabama fans and 4% each fans of Georgia and Florida.

Voters with also asked which fanbases are the most annoying or obnoxious with Alabama leading with 30% and both Florida and Tennessee finishing with 18% of the vote.