Not even April and a lot of disappointing things have happened regarding Nashville SC. First, there was the brand launch. The party was great, but the crest hasn’t been well received. Don’t believe me? Just look at the Facebook comments on this weeks news about the MLS stadium. I’m sure they’ll get over it, but many people really don’t like the MLS crest. Personally I like it mainly because I hated the “old” one. I know I’m in the minority. I think the new crest will look good on a jersey and I like that it is simple and music themed. The soundwave execution could be better, but I think they were going for 6 strings as well. If you hate it, no biggie. There is plenty of cool merchandise that doesn’t have the logo. Project 615 shirts are great as was the player shirt designs last year (go Lucy!). Added bonus, if you really like the old/current logo, the prices on that merchandise should drop drastically by the end of the year. Load up.
Then the club hired Gary Smith as manager before the USL season had even started. Very questionable timing. Why not see how this season goes first? If the club is ten matches into the USL season and say has only scored 10 goals you could possibly go in another direction, but now you are committed. I get the appeal of having someone that already knows the players, but playing style should have been a bigger factor in the search. Gary is not known for attractive soccer which is needed to draw in more fans. Further, who else was even interviewed? I’ve yet to see a specific name as being a finalist. Makes you wonder if the MLS manager’s job was Gary’s to lose all along.
This week fans got a letter from Ian Ayre saying the MLS stadium at the Fairgrounds won’t be ready until 2022 season. While there is some understandable reasoning behind it (mainly don’t rush and get it right) it isn’t good news either. Probably why the club released it during March Madness. That was smart. This means two full years playing Nissan Stadium. I don’t have anything against the stadium itself, but soccer matches just don’t look or sound the same when there are 40,000 empty seats. It’s harder to hear the supporter’s section and the empty stadium feel definitely has an effect on crowd enthusiasm. There are still 23 months before the start of the 2021 season yet the club already has given up on that being a possibility. Shows how hard major construction projects are to complete. Here’s a picture of where things are now. Once these buildings are done, the flea market can move there and demolition could begin on the old buildings were the MLS stadium will go. I guess 23 months is tight and I appreciate the club being up front about it, but it’s not what any fan wanted to hear.
Another interesting nugget in the letter was that Nashville SC will have the largest soccer-specific stadium in MLS at 30,000! The big question is can the club fill it? While I’m sure there is a plan right now it seems as confused as the branding. You have the old logo still being used on the Nashville SC website, online shop and in stadium merchandise. The social media is using some transition type logo? If you want the new MLS logo on your gear from the launch party you find that on the MLS website. I get it, but I’m in the bubble. This is all very confusing to most people in the Music City. They should have waited on the brand launch until after the USL season. Many people buying Nashville SC gear have no idea that the USL logo is a lame duck. At least discount it.
There also have been two matches with poor results. A 2-0 win over a club that didn’t have players just a few months ago and a 1-0 loss to St. Louis. The team needs to score more goals. Granted with all the new players it might take time to gel, but Nashville SC has superior talent to most other USL teams. They should be fun to watch. That’s a big way to get new fans to fill that 30,000 seat stadium. The club is married to Gary at this point. Hopefully, things turn for the better soon.