Column: Nashville is the WNBA’s most logical expansion destination

I was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia. I have actually lived here for all 23 years of my life, however for about as long as I can keep in mind, I have actually constantly liked it when my household and I would take journeys up to Nashville, Tennessee.

My mom’s household, including my grandma, great-aunts, cousins, among my aunties, among Mom’s youth buddies and among Dad’s buddies resided in Nashville, and I would enjoy increasing there to see them. I completely admit that this fondness is among the factors, however not the only factor that I believe that the WNBA must broaden to Nashville.

It’s a terrific coincidence that around the time I was born in 1998, Nashville began to end up being a blossoming sports city, as the NHL broadened to the Music City with the Nashville Predators throughout my birth year and the year prior to that, the NFL had actually transferred the Houston Oilers to the very same city to end up being the Tennessee Oilers, later on to be relabelled the Tennessee Titans in 1999.

Nashville’s development as a top-flight sports city is absolutely the very first factor that WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert would be smart to put among the 2 possible growth groups there. Both the Titans and the Predators have actually been near the top of their particular leagues in presence, with the previous being 12th in 2021 and the latter being 4th in 2021-22.

Not just that, however since the MLS likewise broadened to the state of Tennessee with Nashville SC in 2020, they’ve been near the top of the league in presence also, as they are presently 4th in presence because they started dipping into Geodis Park this year.

Given how the city has actually rallied behind all 3 of its expert sports groups, it’s not a stretch to state that Nashville would rally behind a prospective WNBA group also. I’m basing that viewpoint on a study carried out by the Nashville Sports Authority where 80 percent of the locals surveyed stated that they would support a prospective WNBA or NWSL group in Nashville.

Clearly, there is interest for this concept, as the very same council is currently trying for a group. They absolutely have a strong case when you think about the elements that the WNBA is searching for in a growth city consisting of demographics, population, viewership, politics and policies and generations.

The whole Nashville city includes 1.3 million individuals and the population has actually grown by 2 percent each in the previous 2 years. Many of these individuals are northern transplants originating from cities where basketball rules supreme. These would remain in addition to individuals who are currently fans of the renowned University of Tennessee Lady Volunteers ladies’s basketball group, winners of 8 championship games under Tennessee native, the late head coach Pat Summitt.

There are likewise a lot of youths pertaining to the city nicknamed the Athens of the South wanting to participate in universities such as Tennessee State University, Fisk University and Vanderbilt University. If the WNBA genuinely wishes to interest more young fans, Nashville is absolutely the location to be.

They would currently have 2 prospective locations where a group might play: Bridgestone Arena and the Nashville Municipal Auditorium. The previous is the house to the Predators and has actually hosted both males’s and ladies’s college basketball competitions, consisting of the 2014 NCAA Women’s Final Four. The latter is the house of the Nashville Roller Girls roller derby group.

The Predators have actually been a huge fan of the Women in Sports Initiative and would more than likely assistance sharing their arena with a WNBA group. Also, despite the fact that the Auditorium is much smaller sized, it is moneyed by the city and it is possible for it to be updated at any time.

As Nashville continues to turn into a blossoming metropolitan area, a WNBA group would assist it continue to grow. Nashville is a popular traveler location, particularly thanks to their renowned Downtown district with its hotels and music home entertainment locations.

Given that the WNBA season happens over the summer season and lots of travelers travel in the summer season, there are a lot more prospective fans to get thinking about the WNBA and its item. They will be attracted by the very same things that permitted the 2019 NFL Draft to be in Nashville and may even possibly bring the 2026 FIFA World Cup there also.

Nashville has actually ended up being such a popular sports city that it has actually even been thought about a prospective landing area for the MLB’s Oakland Athletics need to they stop working to get a brand-new arena in Oakland. The WNBA will be taking advantage of a prospective cash cow if the league picks to broaden to the capital of the Volunteer state.

They will have the ability to produce more earnings, more lineup areas and more eyeballs in a city that would invite them completely. I have actually constantly thought about Nashville to be my 2nd house and a city with an unique location in my heart and now it has the possibility to end up being the very same thing for lots of ladies’s basketball fans. I genuinely hope that the WNBA takes that possibility.

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