Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee is Ready To Play Ball, Wants MLB Franchise In Nashville

Posted on October 22, 2020

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee might not be a proponent of sports betting, but he is a supporter of bringing a new Major League Baseball (MLB) team to Nashville, it turns out.

This is one issue he’s willing to go to bat for.

Gov. Bill Lee supports Tennessee MLB team

Gov. Lee shared his thoughts during a Nashville Rotary meeting earlier this week. Tom Lawless of Lawless & Associates asked for the governor’s opinion on how Tennessee can encourage the MLB to permit a new franchise in Nashville.

“The main thing we can do is remind them that we would really like them to be here. Whether it’s a big company or whether it is a major league sports team, they want to know if communities will support them and if they want them to be here. I don’t just mean financial support. But financial support is something that will be considered down the road if that’s something they ask for. That hasn’t even been on anybody’s radar, but we would love for them to be here. We will work together with them . . . I certainly know who is engaged in that process in our city and our state. We’ll be excited about that prospect as well. Nashville, Tennessee, frankly, is a great place for pro sports teams. We’ve proven that time and time again. Baseball would be great.”

This statement was semi-surprising as Lee has been a long-time opponent of all forms of gambling. He refused to sign a Tennessee bill legalizing sports betting in May 2019.

A new sports team would give residents one more local team to put their money on.

However, it would dramatically increase city and state revenue.

A decent portion of MLB sports betting handle for an in-state team would likely be a major boost to Tennessee tax dollars. That boost in tax revenue is no doubt at the forefront the governor’s mind.

Music City Baseball works to pave the way for Nashville Stars

Music City Baseball (MCB) is the company behind attempts to bring a new MLB franchise, the Nashville Stars, to the state’s capital.

Baseball legends Tony La Russa and Dave Stewart are among a variety of big names associated with this company’s leadership team.

Celebrity Justin Timberlake became Music City Baseball’s most recent high-profile investor back in early September.

Timberlake joined big-name artists including Eric Church, Luke Combs and Kane Brown on the company’s Music Industry Advisors committee.

No timeline is currently in place for the continuation of this project. Specifics such as financial details and stadium location have not been revealed.

Moreover, the MLB has not approved a franchise for addition since 1998 when the Arizona Diamondbacks and Tampa Bay Rays were inducted.

MCB would have to secure further investments for this project to come to fruition.

Realistically, a lot of things still need to line up for Nashville to be granted a new MLB team.

One more star aligned for the Nashville Stars when Gov. Bill Lee announced his endorsement.

Photo by Dreamstime
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Alec Cunningham

As a college athlete, Alec Cunningham played Division II golf at Tusculum University. She graduated in 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Professional Writing. She then returned to her love of written word in 2000 after working in the music industry as a concert promoter, tour manager and artist developer. As a journalist, she's covered a variety of topics and currently specializes in Tennessee online sports betting and Virginia casino news. She served as a panelist at this year's All American Sports Betting Summit, discussing the ever-evolving role of women in the gambling industry.

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