Nashville SC stadium

Nashville Soccer Club CEO Ian Ayre said on Monday that the stadium will be finished a month ahead of schedule allowing the team to play its entire slate of 2022 home games at the new facility. The first home game will be May 1 against Philadelphia Union.

“There were certainly times in this journey that it seemed like an almost impossible task,” Ayre told a group of reporters in the stadium’s northeast corner. “That’s been a thing for Nashville Soccer Club since the start — there’s been a lot of things try to get in our way, we got past them, and, again, I can’t thank the people that contributed to this enough. To have a real defined date of completion and a date for that first game, it turns that original dream into an absolute reality.”

Because of the 2022 World Cup, MLS will shift their schedule to an earlier window. Ayre said that Nashville would open the season on the road at new Western Conference foe Seattle on Feb. 27. The league has previously worked with teams entering new stadiums to maximize the number of home games and Ayre said finishing ahead of schedule will prevent the team from having to play home games at Nissan Stadium, their home for the past two years.

The club announced that most of the club level and sideline seats have been sold as well.

“It’s exciting times,” Ayre said. “And I know for our fans, they’re going to be super excited about that [opening] game. Demand has been huge. We’re at about 90 percent of our premium product sold out and around 18,000 season tickets already sold.”

Somewhat surprisingly, Ayre also announced that the stadium will be finished on budget. While many construction projects have faced labor and supply chain issues, he said that the club locked in the cost of the stadium’s steel well before the rise in prices. Ayre gave an example of how the pandemic afforded them unexpected savings — in the process of excavation work, the roads were mostly clear as tons of rock were moved from the fairgrounds to the airport, making things more efficient.

Next up? Putting a name on the stadium in the coming months.

“We’re in advanced talks with a number of people,” Ayre said “That will be an important moment, putting someone’s name on this great structure. We’re encouraged by the amount of interest we’ve seen and it’s now about getting that over the line.”