Major League Soccer
Nashville will be HOME to Major League Soccer's 24th franchise team, beating out dozens of cities across the U.S. in the fight for a team
Securing a Major League Soccer Stadium in Nashville
Local leaders and investors retained Stones River Group to execute a comprehensive public affairs strategy that helped Nashville win a 2017 bid to become the official home of Major League Soccer’s 24th franchise team. Despite this success, the city still faced a major hurdle: securing a public-private partnership to fund a soccer-specific stadium. SRG created and executed a holistic government affairs and public relations campaign that combined local and national media engagement, digital advocacy, and grassroots coalition building to generate support for a series of major legislative votes that ultimately determined the fate of Nashville’s new MLS stadium.
"I was totally taken by the excitement and pride that everybody in the city has for this town: its can-do attitude, its ability to represent sort of a 'new Tennessee' that very much fits with our brand."
- Major League soccer Commissioner Don Garber
In addition to effectively courting both regional and national press to generate positive media coverage and elevate the team’s prospects before local policymakers, SRG mobilized a robust coalition of Tennessee soccer supporters to contact members of the Metro Council in advance of votes, driving calls and emails to key representatives and generating large turnouts at legislative hearings. Nashville soccer fans became a political force during the stadium legislative process, sending thousands of emails encouraging support for the stadium project to Metro Council members.
This grassroots activation continued throughout a lengthy legislative process that required the passage of three pieces of legislation before Metro Council and a separate Metro Planning Commission vote. Supporter attendance averaged 400 per meeting, with 100 supporters speaking during Metro Planning Commission and Metro Council meetings on behalf of rezoning legislation for the stadium site. In September 2018 the Metro Council overwhelmingly passed the key piece of legislation enabling the stadium.
The Nashville chapter of the Public Relations Society of America awarded SRG "Best in Show" at the 2018 Parthenon Awards and multiple Awards of Merit at the 2019 Parthenon Awards for our work to bring MLS to Nashville.