Nashville SC’s MLS football stadium finally has a name: GEODIS Park
Nashville SC CEO discusses stadium ahead of MLS season opener
The CEO of Nashville SC discusses the finishing touches added to the team’s new stadium, which will open May 1, 2022. The MLS season opens on Sunday.
Drake Hills and Trisha Easto, Nashville Tennessean
Nashville SC will open the largest dedicated football stadium in the United States and Canada on May 1 at the Fairgrounds. Now, the future home of the Major League Soccer franchise has a name.
The 30,000 seat, $335 million stadium is now GEODIS Park.
Nashville is expected to announce on Thursday a “long-term” stadium naming rights partnership with GEODIS, a French logistics and supply chain company with North American headquarters in Brentwood. Neither Nashville SC nor GEODIS disclosed financial details of the deal.
Excel Sports Management’s Properties Division brokered the deal between the GEODIS project team and Nashville SC, led by Chief Revenue Officer Will Alexander.
GEODIS will receive signage placement at the main entrance (northeast end), on the roof of the stadium’s 360 degree canopy, inside and outside. Among them, the WeHo Premier Club premium lounge area will include the GEODIS brand in its name.
Nashville CEO Ian Ayre told The Tennessean in February that the club expects a sell-out for its home opener in May and that more than 20,000 season tickets have been sold ahead of that game against Philadelphia Union. Nashville is playing its first eight games on the road.
“We really wanted it to be the Nashville club,” Ayre told the Tennessean. “And so finding a partner that had strong local representation that is creating jobs and opportunities in that community — but also really being in that community and part of it, doing great things for the community — I think that was important.”
What is GEODIS?
GEODIS is one of the top 10 supply chain operators in the world, headquartered in Greater Paris and operated by the French National Railway Company.
GEODIS Americas sub-segment employs 15,000 people nationwide and 2,000 in Middle Tennessee, specializing in supply chain optimization, freight forwarding, distribution, logistics and road transportation.
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In 1951, Ozburn-Hessey Logistics was founded as a local moving and storage company in Nashville. Over time, he immersed himself in comprehensive supply chain management solutions, eventually operating over 120 fulfillment centers across the United States.
In November 2015, GEODIS absorbed Ozburn-Hessey Logistics, expanding the company’s US presence to over 230 locations nationwide. Five of these locations are in central Tennessee. He has four more in Memphis.
GEODIS Americas President and CEO Mike Honious recalls watching the then-Tennessee Oilers host the Cincinnati Bengals at Vanderbilt Stadium in October 1998 before the renamed Titans got a stadium in 1999. Honious is delighted to see that GEODIS now has a stadium named after him.
“When you can go back and look at a company that started in Nashville over 70 years ago, and now we’re actually at the forefront of putting our name on a stadium with the naming rights, it’s is just amazing,” Honious told The Tennessien. “…I’m sure the Ozburn-Hessey family will be very proud of this moment as well.”
Why Nashville SC chose GEODIS
The third-year MLS club chose GEODIS for three reasons: the financial contribution, the potential for future revenue streams and partnerships, and increased power for large association projects, especially with local partners.
The latter is what connected Honious and Nashville majority owner John Ingram a year ago.
Honious sits on the LEAD Public Schools Board of Trustees. In addition to LEAD, GEODIS is a partner of McMurray Middle and Maplewood High Schools. The Ingram family has long supported the education nonprofit PENCIL, since its founding in 1982. In tandem with Ingram’s nonprofit, Ingram Charities, Nashville SC has partnered with local PENCIL nonprofit that partners with Metro Nashville Public Schools, to operate the Kickstart to Reading program, among partnerships with several schools near GEODIS Park.
“Seeing what they were doing at Nashville Soccer Club and what we’re doing in the community with GEODIS, it was perfect,” Honious said.
Ayre told The Tennessean this week that the club had considered 10 candidates for stadium naming rights, dating back to February 2020. However, Ayre added, “over the past three to four months it has really been a GEODIS project.”
Nashville Stadium’s Community Impact
As part of the stadium naming rights deal, GEODIS will create a local youth soccer league in underserved communities in Nashville. Honious told the Tennessean that details will come in by the summer.
“It’s great for the community because it means together we can do more and deliver more,” Ayre said. “It’s great for them because we can draw more attention to the good work they are doing by being around them.”
For stories about Nashville SC or football in Tennessee, contact Drake Hills at [email protected] Follow Drake on Twitter at @LiveLifeDrake. Connect with Drake on Instagram at @drakehillssoccer and on Facebook.