Belmont University to host presidential debate in October 2020


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Hosting a presidential debate at Belmont has always been a vision for the university since building the Curb Event Center. 

Belmont officials pulled off a successful town hall debate in 2008.

“This one will simply be candidate to candidate and it will be the final one just 11 days before the election, that’s a critical time in the decision making for most people,” President Fisher told News 2. 

While the university just got word that they will host the debate, the layout is in place and planning behind the scenes with key city leaders has been in the works for months. 

Security is a key component in picking the sites chosen for the national events.  

“Without question, we are at a different level,  especially when it comes to how we handle security. Nothing is full proof, but we are good, our cities first responders are top-notch,” Butch Spyridon President of NCVC explained. 

The venue must also be big enough to have a deviated space for candidates, their staff and national media coverage. IT infrastructure and access to thousand of hotel room are also required. 

Spyridon says Nashville was covered, “It was a lot easier this year to check the boxes. First of all we’ve done it. Second, there’s 10,000 more hotel rooms in the city today than there was back then.”

Spyridon says the heavy lifting still lies ahead as around $3 million will need to be raised locally, plus what the federal government will put in. 

“This is more about the profile of the city and the eyeballs on the city than it is the financial payoff,” stated Spyridon.

He estimates a 4 or 5 million dollar impact from the Town Hall debate in 2008. 

While the news is exciting for our city, it’s a special opportunity for the students at Belmont University. 

“As a political science major, I am over the moon about this. This is so cool considering our current political climate. I think this is just an opportunity to see, I mean the 3rd debate next year is going to be the most heightened debate probably yet in modern politics and it’s just so cool to see my political science studies come to life in that way. It’s going to be so surreal,” proclaimed Hickok who is a junior at the university. 

Nashville will host the third and final general election debate on October 22nd, 2020.

Related: Belmont campus buzzing with excitement for 2020 Presidential debate

Related: A look back at Nashville’s first presidential debate

The Commission on Presidential Debates announced the location for all four 2020 debates, three presidential and one vice presidential.

First presidential debate:
Tuesday, September 29, 2020
University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN

Vice presidential debate:
Wednesday, October 7, 2020
The University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT

Second presidential debate:
Thursday, October 15, 2020
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI

Third presidential debate:
Thursday, October 22, 2020
Belmont University, Nashville, TN

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