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Pro sports in Middle Tennessee

Posted Saturday, April 19, 2008, at 3:14 PM

When the Nashville Predators first came to Middle Tennessee back in the late 1990s, I wondered how long they'd last.

In a way, I'm surprised they've stayed around this long. But I'm glad the Predators are still here. They add a different dimension to area sports.

I wasn't exactly happy watching Detroit's Johan Franzen slip the puck in a small crease behind Dan Ellis and into the goal Friday night.

That overtime, game-ending play wasn't because of any lack of effort from Ellis.

We're hearing regularly that Nashville's business community needs to throw more support (in other words, $$$$$) behind the Preds. Sometimes I wonder if too much is made of corporate support vs. Joe Fan, although I realize that's where a large part of operating funds come from.

Meanwhile, the Seattle SuperSonics received NBA approval for a move to Oklahoma City. And that got me to wondering.

I suspect Middle Tennessee's saturated as far as pro sports until the population grows -- and it probably will, if things continue as they are -- enough for another major-level pro team.

Could the Nashville Sounds become a major league team in the case of league expansion? Or could the area support an existing major league team if it moves? Or would MLB think we're too close to Atlanta and Cincinnati?

How about an NBA team? I doubt it, since Vanderbilt's support is okay but Murphy Center is largely empty when MTSU's men's basketball team plays.

It's a shame that NASCAR can't find a way to run a Sprint Cup race at Nashville Superspeedway. I'd guess a fan base definitely exists.

Any other thoughts on pro sports in Middle Tennessee?


Comments
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i would like to see mid tn get a mlb team. i think that would be a great investment. im not sure about the nba having a team here, we already have the memphis grizzlies in tn, and we are just not big enough for 2 teams.

-- Posted by someonecares on Sat, Apr 19, 2008, at 8:33 PM

Many of us had hoped to see NASCAR to open up and bring Sprint Cup to the Nashville area, unfortunately I doubt it ever happens. The superspeedway is one of the nicest on the Nationwide/Craftsman Truck circuit as is the Kentucky Speedway. Kentucky is presently in a lawsuit attempting to force a Sprint Cup date within NASCAR.

The old track at Nashville (Fairgrounds) is real shaky at present. The future of the Tennessee State Fairgrounds with the Metro Nashville government heavily involved. Attendance has dropped at the Fairgrounds for years.

It just seems that local asphalt racing has been hit hard while dirt racing has gained ground.

-- Posted by redddj on Sun, Apr 20, 2008, at 7:59 AM

If the Preds decide to move, you can kiss any hope for another major sport team to come to Nashville.

-- Posted by dooshie69 on Mon, Apr 21, 2008, at 10:40 AM

If we were to get a baseball team it would have to be an American League team; because of the proximity of the Atlanta Braves. I've always felt an American League team would do well here. The closest American League parks are in Arlington Texas, Kansas City, and Chicago. Not exactly a 3 hour drive. Think about how many Yankee and Red Sox fans you know. I'm sure they would support MLB in Tennessee just to see their teams play. On another note I've always thought somewhere near Murfreesboro would be a good spot for the Sounds or a double-A or single-a minor league team.

-- Posted by ILOVEBEDFORDCO on Mon, Apr 21, 2008, at 1:42 PM


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David Melson is a copy editor and staff writer for the Times-Gazette.