The NFL Draft has a storied history of boosting the economy of cities by millions of dollars that have hosted the event.
Hundreds of thousands of visitors are expected to come to Music City for next year’s draft.
Nashville was an easy sell to the National Football League, while it may not be what some consider a major city, there was a major impact made on NFL officials.
Nashville is known as Music City USA, but you can now add home of the 2019 NFL Draft.
“Very excited,” said Nashville Sports Council President & CEO Scott Ramsey. “I mean, I think in the 20 plus years that we’ve had not only professional sports here, but just really working on Nashville as a sports destination with a multitude of events. I think this is one of the events that would be certainly one that will be historic.”
Nashville Sport Council leaders said choosing Nashville to host the NFL Draft was a no-brainer.
“I think our downtown has a unique capability to create an energy, atmosphere, excitement for sporting events and other events alike that really lends itself to the NFL draft,” Ramsey said. “It will be a festival-type atmosphere, it will be a party, it will be music, it will be electric, and you know, we think all those components are really going to lead to a very successful event.”
When Philadelphia hosted the NFL draft there was a $94.9 million economic impact.
The event drew in 250,000 football fans, the largest crowd ever for an NFL draft.
Chicago raked in a whopping $81 million to its local economy, with a crowd estimate of 200,000.
“I think it’s hard sometimes to project exact dollars on spending, but I think it’s pretty safe to say this will be our largest economic impact event from a sports event standpoint, stand-alone event that we have held in the city,” Ramsey said.
Nashville has also become a sports city thanks to dedicated fans like Troy Fisher.
“I won’t ever be able to retire because I’ll have to buy tickets all the time,” Fisher said. “I’m a season ticket holder of everything, the Predators, Titans, Sounds, Vanderbilt, TSU; I’ve got tickets to everything.”
He said he plans to be front and center for next year’s draft.
“I love sports, you know, I just eat, drink and sleep sports, so an event like this is great,” Fisher said.
As seen in the past, Nashville will throw a party like none other.
The restaurants, businesses and hotels will be packed.
“I’m on the Sports Council too and I noticed how much all these events that we bring in here, how much it brings into the city’s and everything,” Fisher said. “Hotels – it will be hard to get a hotel that weekend. I already heard they are having the marathon that same weekend, so it will be – you better go ahead and get your hotel now because it will hard at that time.”
It was at the Tennessee Titans Jersey unveil that caught the eye of NFL officials.
“That showed the NFL and that showed the country our passion for football and our ability to put on an event,” said Mike Keith, Voice of the Titans.
Keith appeared on 104.5 the Zone Midday 180 to talk Titans and the NFL draft and said Amy Adam Strunk helped seal the deal.
“Amy Adams Strunk was the closer for Nashville,” Keith said. “She had a conversation with the commissioner, she sold her fellow owners and she certainly put it out there for everybody to see that we wanted it.”
Nashville has already proven it can host a draft event.
In 2003, the National Hockey League held its draft in Music City.
Keith said Nashville has become a sports destination.
“For the NFL to say we’re going to put our second biggest in your community, it’s quite a statement about what the league thinks and what the country thinks about of Nashville,” Keith said.
Professional soccer officials hope to one day host a Major League Soccer draft in Nashville, too.
“What it does is it further validates Nashville as one of the best sports towns around,” said Will Alexander with Nashville Soccer Club. “I think that the success that the Preds have had in energizing our city, the Titans, all the interest in Nashville I see, and our new MLS team. Nashville is just a great place for sports these days.”