John R. Ingram has emerged as the lead investor of Nashville's bid for a Major League Soccer franchise.
The Nashville MLS Organizing Committee, a consortium of political and business leaders that has pushed for a pro soccer team in Music City, announced its intention to claim one of the four proposed vacancies in MLS in August.
Now, with the involvement of the chairman of Ingram Industries Inc., the bid has the backing of one Nashville's wealthiest businessman.
"Nashville has a truly passionate fan base demonstrated by terrific attendance at national team matches," Ingram told the Tennessean.
"We're a diverse, international city with a vibrant youth soccer scene and a booming population.
"We're also a proven major league sports town. Nashville is ready for the world's biggest sport played at the highest level."
Co-founder of the Nashville MLS Organizing Committee, Bill Hagerty, said that backing from Ingram -- whose company runs one of the largest barge operations in the United States -- has given the group a considerable advantage over their franchise rivals.
"John is a friend and a leader who is making a major statement of support for Nashville and the effort to bring Major League Soccer and the world's most popular sport to our thriving, growing city," Hagerty said.
"A strong ownership group is the most important component of any MLS bid, and John is the ideal lead investor."
The news caps off a good week for soccer in Nashville, with the city also announced as one of the 14 host venues for the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup on Monday.