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CEOs of Titans, Nashville SC likely fans of Music City entrepreneurship
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THE CEOs of the Tennessee Titans and Nashville Soccer Club -- respectively Burke Nihill and Ian Ayre -- are both on-record as viewing Music City as a great place to do business.

During the Oracle NetSuite "Business Grows Here" event yesterday at the Conrad Nashville Hotel, Titans CEO Nihill responded enthusiastically to a Venture Nashville question regarding the Titans' potential longer-term interest in engaging with and possibly collaborating with the region's entrepreneurial founders and innovators.

Burke Nihill

Yesterday, after firmly cautioning that his highest priority remains successful leadership of the entire Titans organization -- including realization of its planned $2.1BN East Bank stadium project -- Nihill confirmed he has had some conversations about potential enterprise and pro-entrepreneurship roles for the Titans business.

Nihill, now 45, four years into his CEO-ship and approaching his eighth anniversary with the Titans organization, also emphasized that his interests have long included business and particularly techcentric ventures.

Sharpening that point, Nihill cited his earlier tenure as a Bay Area-based corporate lawyer within VMWare Inc., which was most recently acquired from Dell Technologies by Broadcom Inc. (NASDAQ: AVGO) in a $69BN transaction.

Ian Ayre

Then, there's Nashville SC CEO Ian Ayre, a native of Wales, who in Fall 2023 spoke to a local techcentric business audience gathered under the flag of British American Business (BAB) in the conference center operated by Nashville Technology Council.

Ayre, we learned that day, is not only the high-profile chief executive of Nashville's Major League Soccer entry, but is also founder and executive chairman of Ubiquity, a digital marcom company with current UK operations in Cardiff, Liverpool and Bournemouth.

Ayre said during the BAB meeting that he had been so impressed by the energy and opportunities of the Nashville market that, in the context of Ubiquity's longer-range planning, he had begun developing scenarios for extending the Ubiquity brand into the U.S. market, via Nashville.

During that same BAB event, Ayres-the-proud-grandfather also shared that two of his 12 grandchildren had come to Nashville and attended a Nashville SC game, which proved to be such an exhilarating community experience that his younger grandchild was moved to tears of joy.

Ayres said that while still in discussions about the Nashville SC CEO role, he asked Nashville SC Majority Owner John Ingram why he had undertaken such an ambitious approach to establishing the team, its GEODIS-branded facilities and the resources and initiatives around it.

Ayres said it quickly became clear to him that Ingram strongly believed that Nashville SC, the then-future stadium, etc., should be "shared by everyone."

Ayre said that same vision has been reflected not only in developing the team, but also in substantive community engagement, inclusion of consumer-friendly pricing in its ticket structure, creation of a family section, tickets in-reserve for single-tix sales, etc.

Ayres told the BAB gathering that John Ingram "is, without a doubt, the greatest person I've ever worked for."

Both the Titans and Nashville SC chiefs are doubtless grappling foremost with moving their respective teams forward in their league standings.

Yet, the delight both CEOs have expressed in their Nashville experiences, plus their long-running passions for innovation and entrepreneurship, seem likely to propel each of them into broader roles in the Nashville region.

For the record, today Ubiquity agency says on its website, "Leveraging the power of data-driven research and analytical methodologies, Ubiquity redefine how businesses connect with their audiences and identify areas for growth not only in the UK but also Internationally."

The firm's website also says that while it has "roots in the heart of Cardiff," it also has presence in the UK's Liverpool and Bournemouth, with Nashville its U.S. base.

Major league sports businesses are, with increasing frequency, described as addressing markets that span not only sports, but also music and other entertainment, with many stadiums and related facilities also being leveraged for community initiatives in education and other domains. Related.

Also worth noting here, the Nashville Entpreneurship Center (EC), led by CEO Sam Davidson, has Project Music & Entertainment -- which has in the past 18 months been quietly repositioned as a "peer-group" program, rather than an accelerator -- has for some time included references to Sports, Gaming, Film-making and Publishing within its scope of work.

The EC has industry-specific accelerators only for Healthcare and Fintech sectors. More on new Nissan stadium here. A partial list of VNC SportsVenture coverage here. VNC

. last edited 1630 27 June 2024

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Tags: Broadcom, Burke Nihill, football, GEODIS, Ian Ayre, John Ingram, Major League Soccer, MLS, Nashville Entrepreneur Center, Nashville SC, National Football League, NFL, Sam Davidson, soccer, sports, Tennessee Titans, Titans, Ubiquity, VMWare

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