NASHVILLE – The NFL Draft was a big hit in Nashville, from the turnout to the excitement to the economic impact.
We're now learning even more about just how big of an impact in Music City.
On Wednesday, the NFL and the Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp announced this year's NFL Draft generated a record $133 million in direct spending -- a 79 percent increase over the $74 million at the 2018 Dallas event.
The economic impact was another record-breaker at $224 million, also a 79 percent increase over the $125 million in 2018.
"The NFL Draft in Nashville outperformed even our lofty expectations and set the bar for future NFL events," said Peter O'Reilly, NFL Executive Vice President, Club Business and League Events. "We are grateful to the Tennessee Titans, the Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp, the City of Nashville, the volunteers and the fans who made this unforgettable event the most-watched and most-attended Draft ever."
The NFL Draft was broadcast around the world in a record 115 countries. As previously announced, the three-day event drew a record crowd of 600,000 and a record 47.5 million in television viewership.
"The economic impact numbers released today from the Nashville Draft were another clear indicator of the event's immense success," Titans controlling owner Amy Adams Strunk said. "By any measure, it was the NFL's most successful draft in their history and I am so proud that our organization played a role in that achievement. This year's Draft will be remembered for years to come and will definitely lead to other events large and small for our city."
For comparison, the 2018 CMA Music Festival generated $61.2 million in direct visitor spending, and the city's July 4th celebration generated $10.8 million.
"Nashville has become a worldwide travel destination and just hosted the biggest NFL Draft ever, with record highs in attendees and TV viewership," said Mayor David Briley. "The economic impact of the event has set a record as well. I want to again thank everyone who came together to make the Draft such a safe and successful event."
Other key findings, per a release from the NFL and the Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp:
- The event generated $10.6 million in taxes and fees for Davidson County.
- 54 percent of attendees surveyed were visitors, and 46 percent were local.
- Average visitor party size was 3.2 people with an average length of stay of 2.8 nights.
- 16 percent of parties brought children to the event.
- 75 percent of visitors attended multiple days of the NFL Draft, compared with 50 percent of locals.
- 33 percent of visitors said they flew, while 67 percent drove.
- 81 percent of visitors surveyed cited the NFL Draft as their primary reason for visiting Nashville.
- 97 percent of attendees said they were likely to recommend the event.
- About one-fifth (21 percent) of visitors surveyed stayed at Airbnb and VRBO rentals, a large percentage for the home rental category. Some 51.1 percent stayed in hotels, 16.6 percent with friends/family and 11.3 percent had other accommodations or took a day trip.
Visitor spending included the following categories:
- Lodging: 32.1 percent
- Recreation (attractions, museums, etc.): 21.5 percent
- Food and Beverage: 17.7 percent
- Retail: 16.2 percent
- Transportation (excludes plane tickets): 12.5 percent
As to hotel performance, April 2019 was a strong month for the city. It was the third best month ever in Nashville's history in the number of hotel rooms sold.
"The 2019 NFL Draft exceeded all expectations," said Butch Spyridon, president and CEO of the Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp. "Nashville had record spending, record attendance, record viewership and a record number of credentialed media — the biggest and best NFL Draft ever. The overall success is due to the tremendous spirit of collaboration within the city, including the Tennessee Titans, and our great Metro departments."
Check out scenes prior to the 2019 NFL Draft, which kicked off Thursday night in downtown Nashville. (Photos: Gary Glenn)
Titans owner Amy Adams Strunk visits with Titans fans, takes in excitement of NFL Draft in Nashville. (Photos: Donn Jones)