NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) – Nashville is throwing its name in as a contender to host the NFL Draft in 2024 or 2025.
"We have only submitted an expression of interest. That is a preliminary and necessary step if we want to bid in the future and of course, we want the option. Plenty of time to decide if and when," Nashville Convention and Visitors Corporation President/CEO Butch Spyridon said in a statement.
Nashville previously hosted the NFL Draft in 2019.
The 2019 draft was a huge success for Music City. It brought in 600,000 people over the course of three days and $133 million in direct spending.
"It was one of the best things we've done here in Nashville in the last 30 years I've been downtown in business," Steve Smith who owns Tootsie's said.
For Smith, April of 2019 seems like it happened long ago. Call it the COVID-19 effect.
"Because when I went downtown in '92 and bought Tootsie's Orchid Lounge, there was only three bars down there and everything else was boarded up. Guess what? There's about four or five bars down there and everything else is boarded up," Smith said.
The news comes at a time when Nashville and the rest of the country are struggling financially because of the fallout from the coronavirus.
"I think we'll be lucky if this only lasts five years for a full recovery," Professor David Parsley from Vanderbilt University said.
For Smith, he hopes Nashville regains its booming economy sooner than that. He believes the chance to host the NFL Draft for the second time is another golden opportunity.
"We got to have it," Smith said.
Because of COVID-19, the NFL Draft was virtual and not held in Las Vegas.
Cleveland will host the 2021 NFL Draft. Las Vegas will have to wait until 2022. Kansas City will host the NFL Draft in 2023.