We’re just about a month away from the kickoff of the second Nashville Soccer Club (SC) season played at Geodis Park. The biggest soccer-only stadium in North American opened last year, securing the future of one of the newest teams in Major League Soccer.
Getting the stadium built was no small feat and there were certainly setbacks over the years. But with all that in the rear-view mirror, Nashville SC faithful can now enjoy the second season in a state-of-the-art soccer stadium. Here is a brief overview of how we got to this point, along with a look at what the stadium offers fans:
Nashville SC’s Background
While Nashville has had some level of professional soccer for many years, the idea to bring big-time pro soccer to the city began in earnest in 2016. In May of that year, the USL Championship Division announced the addition of a Nashville squad. The following year, before the team had even played a game, the franchise was acquired by billionaire businessman John Ingram, with the purpose of putting in a bid for an MLS team.
By December of 2017, the MLS had announced that Nashville would join the league as the 24th team. With a stadium in the works, the plan initially was for the team to play two years in the USL Championship Division before joining the MLS with a fully ready stadium in 2020. While the stadium wasn’t completed by 2020, the team would join the MLS for the COVID-shortened 2020 season. The team has acclimated quickly, qualifying for the MLS Cup playoffs each of the past two years. Now, they’re preparing to host New York City FC in the season opener Feb. 25.
In the early stages of planning the stadium, the estimated cost was $275 million and would be located at the Nashville Fairgrounds. The plan to finance the stadium evolved over the years as a mayoral scandal led to three different mayors occupying city hall in just over 18 months. The initial 2020 open date was pushed back to 2022 as the larger plan for redeveloping the fairgrounds also evolved over the years. There was also some pushback from local leaders about the use of the fairgrounds and even a lawsuit to block the construction, which was eventually thrown out.
By early 2020, Nashville SC and new Nashville mayor John Cooper had reached an agreement to immediately begin the construction process at the fairgrounds. As part of the agreement, Ingram agreed to finance 100% of the project cost, including infrastructure around the stadium. Additionally, Ingram and the team were given 10 acres at the fairgrounds for mixed-use development. In the meantime, the budget increased to the $325 to $345 million range.
The demolition portion of the project began in March 2020 and construction began soon after. Mortenson and Messer Construction was responsible for the work. Kansas City firm Populous did the design work.
Construction work on the stadium was completed in April 2022. The team played the first two months of the season entirely on the road after playing two years at Nissan Stadium. Geodis, a transport, logistics, and supply-chain management firm bought the naming rights to the stadium ahead of the home opener on May 1, 2022.
The 30,000-seat stadium features six lounges, two dozen box suites, and a dedicated supporter’s entrance on the north side of the structure. There’s a 360-degree canopy, a 65-foot-wide shared concourse, and a standing supporter’s section. The distance between the touchline and the last row of seats is only 150 feet so literally everyone is close to the action. The area around the stadium is designed to incorporate both the tailgating and music scene the city is known for. With these amenities and the early success on the pitch, it’s no wonder the franchise was able to sell more than 23,000 season tickets in its first year at the venue.
At Construction Protection Systems, we’re proud to have played a small part in development of Geodis Park. Stay tuned for more updates from the makers of 1-2-3 Door Shield—the original, reusable door protection system.