NFL Draft in Nashville clobbers record for visitor spending
Nashville obliterated the record for direct spending by visitors at the NFL Draft, generating $132.8 million for last month's event.
The previous record was 2018 in Dallas, which generated $74 million. Direct spending calculations use visitor surveys, room night data and tax collections to identify how much visitors actually spent at an event.
The spending record was somewhat expected, since it was already announced that Nashville set records with a combined 600,000 people on hand during the three-day draft.
The 2019 NFL Draft was also viewed by 47.5 million in 115 countries on television and streaming, making it the most-watched draft ever.
The NFL Draft will go down as the most lucrative multi-day event ever recruited to Nashville.
"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 for club business and league events.
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Draft impact by the numbers
The draft generated $10.6 million in tax revenue and fees for Davidson County with 54 percent of attendees visiting from outside Nashville and staying an average of 2.8 nights.
"Nashville has become a worldwide travel destination and just hosted the biggest NFL Draft ever, with record highs in attendees and TV viewership," Nashville Mayor David Briley said.
According to visitor surveys, 75 percent of visitors attended multiple days of the draft, compared to 50 percent of local residents.
The average party size was 3.2 people. According to data provided by the Nashville Convention and Visitors Corp., 51.1 percent of visitors rented hotel rooms, 21 percent used a short-term rental and 16.6 percent stayed with friends and family.
The Nashville event dwarfed Dallas for visitor spending. Philadelphia generated $56.1 million in direct spending in 2017 and Chicago brought in $43.9 million in 2016.
The draft produced an economic impact, which includes economic multipliers, of $223.9 million.
“The economic impact numbers released today from the Nashville Draft were another clear indicator of the event’s immense success," Titans 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.”
This being Music City, the draft wove together musical performances with the football festival, including headlining performances by Tim McGraw and Dierks Bentley.
The east bank of the Cumberland River was turned into a football, music and food festival featuring local bands and family friendly activities.
"The 2019 NFL Draft exceeded all expectations" CVC President and CEO Butch Spyridon said. "Nashville had record spending, record attendance, record viewership and 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."
Spyridon said this month that, although he'd like to see the draft return to Nashville in the future, he's not actively engaged in talks.
Reach Nate Rau at 615-259-8094 and firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow on Twitter @tnnaterau.