ESPN reports that Nashville is the front runner to host the 2019 NFL Draft.
Nashville has emerged as the leading contender to host the 2019 NFL Draft, per league sources. A decision is expected to be announced during the league’s spring meeting May 22-23 in Atlanta.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) May 10, 2018
The ESPN article details some of the logistics and details necessary to make this a reality. Having lived in the Nashville area for most of my life, I’m here to tell you the pros and cons of Nashville hosting an event of this magnitude. If you live in Nashville or have been here recently, this article won’t be groundbreaking info. However, I think this article can show you how we can make it work but also some potential issues we as a city may come across.
Nashville has the facilities to make this happen. Over the last few years, Nashville has added The Music City Center and Ascend Amphitheater to the already existing Bridgestone Arena (Home of the NHL’s Winnipeg…too soon… Nashville Predators) and Nissan Stadium (Tennessee Titans). Not to mention the Ryman and Municipal Auditorium. The Ryman and Municipal aren’t really functional options for the draft so we’ll move past those venues. However, The MCC is a 2 million square foot convention center and Ascend Amphitheater is an outdoor music venue with assigned and lawn seating. Ascend would look great on TV for future busts to walk across the stage and fake hug the Commissioner.
The downtown Nashville atmosphere is electric almost 24/7 nowadays. It’s not like the Vegas strip. But it’s getting there, minus the gambling and legal hookers (note for visitors: illegal hookers can be found you just gotta look carefully…. or so I’ve heard). The Broadway strip specifically has great live music joints where celebrities and quasi celebrities (looking at you Post Malone) can show up on stage at any time. This city floods the streets to watch hockey and uniform reveals. We would show up for the Draft just fine.
We know what we are doing. We host CMA Fest at multiple downtown venues every summer. We host countless events at Bridgestone Arena. From sports to award shows to concerts and everything in between, we do it. Nashville can handle a crowd. The Music City also has plenty of places for visitors to stay. According to this Tennessean article, Nashville is one of only three cities in the nation where hotel construction has increased. We can handle all the rowdy Philly fans and all the hopeless Dawg Pound and every other traveling fan base.
WE WANT THE EVENT
In some cases, a popular sporting event comes to town and the residents of said town don’t actually want it to be there. See most every Olympic city of recent memory. The event causes too much nonsense with traffic and crime without providing much benefit for the city. The NFL Draft doesn’t typically bring a bad crowd, and the city would benefit tremendously with all the money being spent at bars, restaurants, and tourism attractions. Nashville wants to show the world how awesome we are. Only in recent times has Nashville become a destination city. We used to be a secret. Now the secret is out. We want you to come visit our lovely city. Just don’t move here permanently until 440 is fixed, please.
Our football stadium has the capacity to hold near 70,000 people and has plenty of parking and transit. The issue is the lack of a roof. You wouldn’t want to make Nissan Stadium the home of the draft only to get rained on all day. This leads to the next issue…
Without doing factual research and only basing this off 30 years of knowledge; our average draft season temperature is somewhere between 37 and 81 degrees. According to Google the average high is 72 and the average low is 48. If the draft was held in Nashville this year, the high temps would’ve been 61, 75, and 73 degrees. In 2017 those temps would have read 74, 84, and 91. Rain probability is usually in the 35% range on average during the end of April. (SOURCES: WeatherSpark and AccuWeather) If we are using the covered facilities, Bridgestone and Music City Center, this won’t be an issue. If Nissan and Ascend are the two featured locations, things could get hot, humid, and uncomfortable quickly.
Bridgestone Arena near the end of April usually has at least one or two concerts. Those can be rescheduled with relative inconvenience. Or really they wouldn’t get scheduled at all I suppose if the Draft is announced in advance. The hockey team on the other hand would have issues hosting playoff games. Assuming the NFL Draft dates would be similar to the previous two years (April 26-28 and 27-29), if the Predators have another good season there would be conflict. This year the Preds hosted second round playoff games 1 and 2 against the Winnipeg Jets on Friday April 27 and Sunday April 29. Having the NFL Draft and NHL playoffs in the city at the same time sounds awesome to me. It also sounds like a logistics nightmare.
According to the ESPN article, Nashville faces competition from Denver, Kansas City, Cleveland, and…. Vegas. I have never been to Denver but I understand that it’s awesome. Denver does face potential weather, stadium, and arena issues as well. Kansas City is another place I have never visited but they have a rabid NFL fan base. Way more so in my opinion than Nashville. Cleveland is hot garbage but if LeBron leaves at least the arena will be available. Vegas is the real test here. If you haven’t been, Vegas sucks unless you’re on the strip. Of course that’s like saying the steakhouse has average chicken nuggets. You’re gonna be on the strip and the strip is awesome! My guess is Sin City gets the Draft once the Raiders come to town.
Overall, I think Nashville would rock the Draft. I’m eager for the official announcement, which will come in about two weeks at the NFL spring meetings.
photo via Google/imagekind
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