In Nashville, rooting for the home team is its own type of sport. Over the past 20 years, Nashville has branched out from its Music City roots to also become a hub of athletic action, with a variety of events and teams – led by the NFL’s Tennessee Titans and the NHL’s Nashville Predators – injecting an extra level of excitement into the downtown scene and beyond.
“Sports can be a uniting element for people,” says Scott Ramsey, CEO of the Nashville Sports Council. “Everybody is waving the same flag, and that generates an energy for the city.”
Energy and a substantial economic boost as well. For example, the Predators run to the Stanley Cup finals in the 2016-17 season generated an economic impact of more than $50 million – along with invaluable positive publicity nationwide – as thousands of fans packed downtown streets to watch the games on oversized projection screens. The annual Music City Bowl college football game results in nearly $16 million in direct spending, while last year’s five-day Southeastern Conference Men’s Basketball Tournament produced more than $21 million in spending.
Throw in Triple-A baseball, numerous college games and tournaments, an annual marathon with approximately 32,000 runners, and the arrival of not one but two professional soccer teams, and sports has added a vibrant verse to the Music City.