NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — The 2019 NFL Draft drew in record crowds to Music City with hundreds of thousands of people packed into Broadway.
“We obviously exceeded ours and the NFL’s expectations in all the right ways,” said Butch Spyridon, President of the Nashville Convention and Visitors Corporation.
Looking back, Spyridon says he is now thankful Music City hosted the event in 2019.
“I’m thankful social distancing had not been a thing last year,” Said Spyridon. “The irony is we pushed hard for 2020 and the NFL, for whatever reason, I think they saw we were their best bet for 2019, they almost shoved it down my throat. I was saying no, we are in better shape and need it in 20, we don’t need it in 19.”
Las Vegas now having to cancel their event as COVID-19 has changed how we gather and live life.
COVID-19 has hit a number of industries hard, closing many of the main attractions in Nashville and leaving hotels basically empty.
“Occupancy in the city is 18 percent,” said Spyridon. “Somewhere between 16 and 18, but that is because 18 hotels have closed so that number is falsely inflated”
Spyridon is optimistic that the tourism industry will bounce back, but when that will be is hard to tell.
“I think we recover faster than most,” says Spyridon. “We have a very loyal visitor base and we have a very blessed geographic location.”
The city of Nashville has created a four-phase plan to get Music City back to work and businesses reopened.
Nashville’s economy will open in four phases and the city will only move to the next phase if there is positive improvement and stability in the metrics for 14 days.
“We have to crawl before we walk and getting it right in two week increments is not that bad when you think if we do this well then we expand to another level,” said Spyridon. “So at a month we could arguably be at full capacity in terms of opportunity, but we will still be well behind in terms of crowds.”
Stay with News 2 for continuing coverage of the COVID-19 Pandemic.