NASHVILLE – Take a bow, Nashville.
The Music City has been selected as the Best Sports City in the country for 2019 by Street & Smith's Sports Business Journal.
The announcement on Monday comes on the heels of a record-setting NFL Draft on the streets of Music City.
Earlier this year, the NFL and the Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp announced the 2019 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 2019 NFL Draft is widely considered the most successful draft in NFL history.
"The NFL Draft in Nashville outperformed even our lofty expectations and set the bar for future NFL events," Peter O'Reilly, NFL Executive Vice President, Club Business and League Events, said earlier this year. "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."
This year's draft easily shattered records for attendance, as over 600,000 fans fill the streets of Nashville for the three-day event.
"While I am proud to have been involved, the people of Tennessee were the true stars of the show and I want to thank every single person who touched the event," Titans controlling owner Amy Adams Strunk said earlier this year after being named Tennessean of the Year by the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame "They say it takes a village, but this event, it took an amazing city and a great state to come together and throw one of the biggest parties in NFL history."
The NFL Draft was broadcast around the world in a record 115 countries, and the three-day event drew a record crowd of 600,000 and a record 47.5 million in television viewership.
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 former 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."
Scott Ramsey, President & CEO of Nashville Sports Council, Inc. & Music City Bowl, Inc., called the selection a "tremendous honor."
In addition to the NFL's Titans and NHL's Predators, local colleges like Vanderbilt, Belmont, David Lipscomb and Tennessee State have also helped put the city on the map and make it a destination city.
At Nissan Stadium, the Titans are 20-7 at home over the past three-plus season, 4th best in NFL.
Nissan Stadium also hosted the Concacaf Gold Cup Semi-final game in July, the She Believes Cup in March, two USL games for Nashville SC, the Western Kentucky/Louisville football game, along with TSU games.
Also, the NASCAR Awards Week was held in Nashville earlier this month for the first time.
Vanderbilt hosted NCAA tournament games leading up to winning the school's second National Championship in June.
The Predators won Central Division, and Nashville SC finished second in Eastern Conference in USL.
Also, the SEC Basketball Tournament was played at Bridgestone Arena again this year.
The Nashville Sounds hosted a game against the Texas Rangers this past spring.
The city annually attracts more than 30,000 runners at the Rock and Roll Marathon.
Nashville is set to host the Music City Bowl again later this month.
Ramsey issued this statement after the SBJ named Nashville the top sports city:
"What a tremendous honor for Nashville, as selected by the Sports Business Journal! As we all know, our success as a sports destination has had many authors. Our city's collective efforts are the real reason that we have received this honor and recognition. The public and private sectors, along with the community as a whole, continually contribute day in and day out allowing the Music City to thrive as a sports town.
Our city's collective efforts are the real reason that we have received this honor and recognition," Ramsey said. "The public and private sectors, along with the community as a whole, continually contribute day in and day out allowing the Music City to thrive as a sports town.
"While this is technically a 2019 award, we know that it would have never happened without many years of successful events, partnerships, sponsorships, collaboration and volunteerism. These are the attributes that separate us from any city in the country and they will continue to be the backbone of our future successes.
"On behalf of the Nashville Sports Council, I want to express our appreciation to several entities that are continually contributing to our city's sports growth and success: Mayor's Office; City Council; Metro Sports Authority; All Metro Departments; Convention & Visitor's Corp; Hospitality Industry including hotels, restaurants; Gaylord Opryland; Nashville Predators; Tennessee Titans; Nashville Sounds; Nashville SC; Bridgestone Arena; Nissan Stadium; all of the area colleges and universities; Music City Center; the entertainment industry that sets the Music City apart from all other cities; local media for promoting our city; Sports Council members; our thousands of volunteers; every company that sponsors a team or event; everyone who has served on the Nashville Sports Council or the Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl Board of Directors; and special thanks to my staff at the Nashville Sports Council and Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl.
I hope everyone who has attended, volunteered, promoted, sponsored, underwritten or participated in sports in Nashville over the past 20 years celebrates this award! This award would not have been possible without you and your involvement – thank you on behalf of everyone in our city who loves sports!"