NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -- The final tally is in from the NFL Draft's economic impacts, and the financial impacts were record-setting in Nashville.

The Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp released the numbers Wednesday afternoon, and Nashville generated a record-breaking $133 million in local direct spending associated with the Draft, and an overall economic impact of $224 million.

“Nashville is every bit the destination we thought. Our experience in big events paid off in spades," Butch Spyridon with the Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp said.

NFL Draft

In both cases, Nashville surpassed the 2018 records set by Dallas a whopping 79%: Dallas' event generated $74 million in direct spending, and an overall economic impact of $125 million.

Since the conclusion of the Draft, there has been only praise for how the city handled the event, the visitors, and the attention. The NFL Executive Vice President said "The NFL Draft in Nashville outperformed even our lofty expectations and set the bar for future NFL events. We are grateful to the Tennessee Titans, the Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp, the City of Nashville, the hundreds of volunteers, and hundreds of thousands of fans who made this unforgettable event the most-watched and most-attended Draft ever."

Other key findings about attendees and event impact include the following:

  • 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.

Hotels like the Bobby Hotel filled up fast. They sold out two months before the NFL Draft.

“It was just you getting ready to be really, really busy," Avi Niego with the Bobby Hotel said.

Niego said it was an all hands on deck effort.

“We were just all doing everything. It was fun," Niego said.

The NFL has the next few years set when it comes to the Draft.

  • 2020: Las Vegas, Nevada
  • 2021: Cleveland, Ohio
  • 2022: TBD
  • 2023: Kansas City, Missouri

Spyridon wanted to set the record straight on any rumors.

“We are not in any conversation whatsoever regarding 2022 or actually any year at this point with the NFL," Spyridon said.

If Nashville lands the NFL Draft again, Spyridon told News4 he would do some things differently. They include working to make road closures less of a hassle, more activities across the river, and avoiding another cherry tree debacle.

Copyright 2019 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.


A graduate of the University of Florida, Cameron joined News4 in December 2018.

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