Geodis Park, home of the Nashville SC soccer team.

By Nashville Stars Baseball Club

NASHVILLE, TN — Deeply rooted in Tennessee’s rich baseball history, we are committed to bringing Major League Baseball to Music City.

Whatever the measurement, Nashville continues to move higher on national leaderboards. 

A new one was unveiled this week, and Music City is once again among the nation’s best.

Based on input from nearly 100 executives and more than 400,000 data points of teams, events, facilities and more, Sports Business Journal ranks Nashville the 8th-best city in the nation for sports business. Music City was one of three cities in the Southeast to be placed in the top-10, joining Charlotte (3rd) and Atlanta (5th).

The reasons cited by the publication are many. Nashville’s sports business reputation has grown substantially in recent years. NASCAR returned after a decade’s absence, Nashville SC moved up from the minor leagues into MLS and Music City became just the fourth different market since 1957 to host the NFL Draft.

Tom Turner, president of the Nashville Downtown Partnership, fully agrees with Nashville’s placement. 

“Combine accessible location with a business-friendly environment, a great facility mix and world-class hospitality and entertainment … you get Nashville,” Turner said.

Dallas led the way in the rankings, followed by New York with Charlotte, Minneapolis and Atlanta next in line. Also in the mix are Los Angeles (6th) and Las Vegas (7th), followed by Nashville, Chicago, and Phoenix to round out the top-10.

The algorithm used for ranking the cities was divided evenly into three parts: opportunity, stability and executive reasoning. SBJ’s term of “opportunity” measures the collection of sports sponsors, media partners and other major industry vendors with headquarters (or an otherwise significant physical presence) established in the market. According to SBJ, “California’s iconic In-N-Out restaurant is building its eastern headquarters [in Nashville] — the brand’s first move east of Texas. CKE Restaurants, parent to Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s, recently relocated its Southern California headquarters to Nashville. Other notable sponsors include Bridgestone Tire, Nissan, ServPro and Hankook Tire.”

The market’s stability in sports weighs elements such as the number and sustained tenure of major and minor league teams, the number of Division I college athletic programs and the permanent events (such as a college football bowl game) and events awarded to a market by virtue of bids placed.

“With a population of around 2 million, Nashville teams generated a five-year attendance total of 13.2 million, one of the highest [attendance-to-population] ratios in our study,” SBJ reported, citing events like the 2022 Toyota U.S. Figure Skating Championships and a considerable SEC presence. That presence includes hosting the conference’s men’s basketball tournament 15 times over an 18-year stretch and the 2026 women’s basketball tournament for the eighth time.

When looking at facilities, SBJ noted that the Tennessee Titans hope to move into a new $2.1 billion stadium in 2026, but also pointed to a number of other high-profile upgrades that are newly unlocked or in the final stages.

“Geodis Park, home of Nashville SC, opened in 2022 … [as] the country’s largest soccer-specific stadium. A $100 million modernization of the historic Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway is being finalized. Austin Peay basketball will play at the $130 million F&M Bank Arena, which has two sheets of ice and is operated by the Nashville Predators,” the report detailed.

The final piece of the puzzle came from industry executives’ responses — for which they were promised anonymity — to the intentionally vague question: “What is the best place to conduct sports business?” The report noted that the city earned one of the highest levels of positive sentiment from the executives in the study, as the market was highly praised for its energetic business climate.

“It’s a hot city, growing by leaps and bounds. It’s an affordable market with an attractive business climate,” one executive said.

“It’s becoming a ‘destination’ sports city, much like Las Vegas,” report author (and SBJ research director) David Broughton concluded.

It’s another strong message about Nashville and its major league status, and it energizes us further as we work to bring the Stars and MLB to Nashville.