The 2019 NFL Draft in Nashville, to say the least, was a home run.
The three-day event brought 600,000 fans and record-setting $132.8 million in visitor spending to the Music City. On top of that, more than 47.5 million fans watched the event on television, making it the most-watched draft in NFL history – until this year, at least.
And in the future, Nashville could host the event again. Butch Spyridon, CEO of the Nashville Convention and Visitors Corporation, told AllTitans that the city has submitted an expression of interest to host the NFL draft in 2024 and 2025.
“We didn’t want to bid in the short term,” Spyridon said in an exclusive interview. “We wanted to enjoy the fruits of our labor. But we would like to bring it back, and I think (the NFL) would like to come back.”
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell certainly indicated that sentiment last year.
"The 2019 NFL Draft was a tremendous continuation of the celebration of the NFL's 100th season and an opportunity to welcome the next generation of stars," Goodell said in a release from the league following selection process. "Dramatic and emotional storylines played out in cities across the country with the energetic host city of Nashville serving as a breathtaking backdrop to hundreds of thousands of passionate fans who lined the streets and enjoyed a unique NFL Draft Experience.
“We congratulate our newest players and their families and thank the Tennessee Titans, the Nashville Convention and Visitors Corp., the City of Nashville, the volunteers, and everyone who made the Draft such a memorable, entertaining, and successful experience."
Many questions remain for the NFL and its fans, though. As the coronavirus pandemic continues across the world, many are left wondering when large gatherings will be held safely again. All public events scheduled for the 2020 NFL Draft, which was set to take place in Las Vegas, were canceled and the league ultimately did the whole thing virtually.
As of now, there is no guarantee fans will be allowed to attend games this fall.
Spyridon, however, believes the 2021 NFL draft, which will be held in Cleveland, Ohio, will be a public event. Las Vegas was granted the opportunity to host in 2022 after this year’s misfire, and in 2023, the draft will be in Kansas City.
But there’s no question, Nashville and the show it put on in 2019 will be hard to beat.