As Kentucky fans, we can’t say a lot about Vanderbilt football considering they’ve beaten us four of the last five seasons; however, I had to scratch my head when this headline came across my feed: “Vanderbilt in talks for new football stadium.”
I’ve been to Vanderbilt’s stadium several times. It’s nothing special, about what you would expect from Vanderbilt football: an old-school structure where local youth groups sell kettlecorn, old men wear pale gold sweaters, and they blast a foghorn without realizing how ridiculous it sounds. Despite various renovations since it was build in 1922, the 40,350 seat structure is still the least impressive station in the SEC. But it’s the SEC, and it’s Vanderbilt, so you know, it makes sense. When the sun’s setting during the final seconds of a win over MTSU, the place almost has a bit of charm about it.
Today, Vandy athletic director David Williams told The Tennessean that he wants to build a new stadium within the next three to four years at an estimated cost of $60 million to $90 million. Williams said he doesn’t want to increase capacity, a wise move since Vandy’s struggling to fill up their current stadium as is. Finding a new site will be difficult since every inch of Vanderbilt’s campus and the West End area of Nashville is already jam-packed with businesses, houses, and reclaimed barn wood decorated restaurants. Williams said he doesn’t want to renovate the current stadium, but considering the lack of space, he might be forced to. An off-campus stadium just doesn’t make sense, and even then, space is at such a premium in Nashville these days that options are limited. There’s talk of bringing an MLS franchise to Nashville, in which case the city could partner with Vanderbilt to build a new stadium for both the football team and the soccer team. There’s potential there, but again, where would you put it?
Since I live in Nashville, I’m sure I care a lot more about this than you all do, but after the past few weeks, at the very least, take heart in the fact that UK has a really nice football stadium. Without an annoying foghorn.