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Nashville city skyline


Metropolitan Area: Nashville-Davidson-Murfreesboro-Franklin, Tennessee

Metro Area Population: 2.01 million people
Metro Area Median Age: 37.2 yrs old
Metro Area Median Household Income: $72,725 (USD)
Other 'Big 5' Franchises in city: Tennessee Titans (NFL), Nashville Predators (NHL), Nashville SC (MLS)
Number of Fortune 1000-equivalent businesses in city: 5
Combined annual revenue of Fortune 1000-equivalent businesses in city: $73.9bn (USD)

The consensus favourite to win a franchise, Nashville is certainly one of the most organised of the expansion contenders. Music City Baseball, set up in 2019 to spearhead the acquisition of a major league team for the city, has been actively promoting Nashville as a major league destination for years. Plans for a ballpark (and ballpark district, which includes an adjoining concert venue) have been drawn up, a team name (the Stars) has been chosen and jerseys have even been designed. The group's success in raising the city's profile was evident in a recent 100-player poll conducted by The Athletic, which found Nashville was favoured by 69% of them to be one of MLB's expansion locations. 

Music City Baseball is staffed by heavy hitters. Founded by John Loar, who has been involved in sports and entertainment for decades, the group is spearheaded by big names including former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez and MLB General Manager and World Series MVP Dave Stewart. With a mixture of prominent people from the worlds of both politics and sport and entertainment, the group will no doubt have an impressive rolodex to call upon during the expansion process - and are likely to be able to portray themselves as the known-quantity, trusted-pair-of-hands type ownership group that MLB has historically looked favourably upon during an expansion process.

Music City Baseball has also emphasised its equality, diversity and inclusion credentials. Stewart is leading a "Diverse Equity Ownership Initiative", promising that the team would become the first majority African-American owned in history if it came into existence. For a league that has struggled with African-American participation in recent years, that might be an attractive proposition.

But while the ownership group is impressive, and all signs suggest that they are well prepared, there are two problems.

The first is that the group lacks a mega-rich "controlling owner to help cover the $2 billion (or more) expansion fee and the price tag of a new stadium that would have to be constructed between now and the team’s first pitch."[1] Whether it can find that owner, and whether they are acceptable MLB's current ownership, are questions that could define Nashville's bid.

The second is that the data suggests that Nashville itself is not a standout market. Amongst expansion contenders it sits squarely in the middle of the pack on most metrics. Arguably this is partly mitigated by the fact it is a young market and has some of the best minor league attendance of any expansion contender which suggests that it might be able to punch above its demographic weight when it comes to baseball - something the Music City Baseball website emphasises, noting that "Nashville and Middle Tennessee have a long history of supporting baseball, both at the Minor League level and with the Negro Leagues".[2] But it still has the potential to cause problems.

There is a lot of positive buzz around Music City Baseball and Nashville is in pole position to receive an expansion franchise. But it is not a foregone conclusion. Major challenges remain.


TV Market Size
Metro Area Size
Median Household Income
Fortune 1000-equivalent Businesses
Median Age
Minor League Attendance



TV Market Size
Metro Area Size
Median Household Income
Fortune 1000-equivalent Businesses
Median Age




Nashville stadium rendering
Nashville stadium rendering
Nashville stadium rendering

Source: Ballpark Digest, renderings produced by Music City Baseball. Baseball Expansion claims no copyright or credit for these images.


[1] "Major League Baseball is near expansion, and Nashville's endeavor has big questions", The Tennessean, Gentry Estes, 3 December 2023,
[2] Music City Baseball

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