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A women’s professional sports franchise in Nashville took a step closer to becoming a reality on Wednesday when sports management consulting firm CAA ICON presented findings of its Women's Sports Initiative Strategic Assessment to the Metro Sports Authority Women's Professional Sports Ad Hoc Committee.

Of the near 4,400 web surveys collected by local colleges, professional franchises and management professionals as part of the $75,000 assessment, CAA ICON found that 53 percent of responders supported adding a National Women’s Soccer League or Women’s National Basketball Association team, 80 percent supported a professional women’s team depending on the sport, and 14 percent did not support the city adding any women’s professional sports franchise.

The surveys asked participants to state their interest in six different women’s professional sports — basketball, soccer, hockey, softball, volleyball and indoor arena football.

"When you look back to when the Titans and the Predators came to the region, there were 1.4 million people [in the Nashville area],” CAA ICON senior director Bryan Slater said. “There are 2.2 million people now. That growth is expected to continue. That's part of the reason for so much optimism around supporting a new team."

Nate Rau of Axios Nashville reported that the next steps in the initiative include CAA ICON conducting an economic impact analysis to be presented to the board next month to determine how much revenue a women’s professional franchise would bring in for Nashville.

An NWSL team seems more likely given a deal could almost certainly be reached with Nashville SC to share use of the club’s soon-to-open 30,000-seat MLS stadium at the Nashville Fairgrounds — the largest such soccer-specific facility in the U.S.

Finding an arena for a WNBA franchise could prove to be more of a challenge. Axios mentioned that Bridgestone Arena, which annually hosts the SEC men’s basketball tournament and will host the women’s tournament in 2022, could be too large to accommodate the average WNBA crowd. And Municipal Auditorium, which used to host the men’s and women’s Ohio Valley Conference Tournament, would need significant upgrades to function as a WNBA venue.

Follow Michael Gallagher on Twitter @MGsports_