ATLANTA –** The pick is in: The NFL Draft is headed to the Music City in 2019.
The NFL announced the decision here on Wednesday at the league’s annual spring meeting.
It’s a big development for the city of Nashville, and the Titans.
“Following an exciting and successful event in Dallas, we’re thrilled to take the NFL Draft to Nashville. The city has a passionate fan base and offers iconic locations that will enable us to expand the Draft in unique ways,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said. “We look forward to working with the Tennessee Titans, the City of Nashville, and the Nashville Convention and Visitors Corp to deliver a memorable celebration of football to our fans and incoming players.”
According to the NFL, the draft will incorporate “iconic city landmarks across the Music City stretching from Lower Broadway to Nissan Stadium.”
Nashville was one of five finalists for hosting the draft in 2019 or 2020, in contention with Kansas City, Denver, Las Vegas and Cleveland/Canton.
The league decided on Nashville for 2019 following a review of the proposal by the Super Bowl & Major Events Advisory Committee and full ownership. Officials from the NFL made at least two site visits to Nashville in recent months, and the league evaluated plans submitted by the other cities in recent months.
“We are thrilled for the city of Nashville, our fans and our team, that we have been selected to host the 2019 NFL Draft,” Titans controlling owner Amy Adam Strunk said. “The city and the Titans put a lot of effort into this proposal and we can’t wait to see it come to life next year. I personally would like to thank Commissioner Goodell and the NFL for this opportunity; Metro Nashville Government, led by Mayor David Briley; Butch Spyridon at the CVC; Scott Ramsey at the Sports Council; and all those who have contributed to this effort. Nashville is known as an entertainment destination and we look forward to showing the football world what that looks like on a very big stage.”
The dates for next year’s draft have been set: April 25-27.
The exact location for the festivities, however, won’t be known for a while.
The city and team let the NFL know a variety of venues available in Nashville, and the footprint discussed in the downtown area could include Nissan Stadium, lower Broadway, Ascend Amphitheater, the Music City Center, Schermerhorn Symphony Center, the Country Music Hall of Fame and Music City Walk of Fame Park.
The 2018 NFL Draft was held at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
After holding the draft each year in New York City, the NFL turned the draft into a road show in recent years, holding it in Philadelphia in 2017, and Chicago in 2015 and 2016. The NFL Draft is bid on each year by NFL cities and is held in the city with the winning bid.
Leading up to recent drafts, the respective cities presented a plan on which venues would be available in each city, and NFL officials ultimately decided which design worked best.
Spyridon and his team with the Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp, along with Ramsey and his group from the Nashville Sports Council, have been actively involved in the process, along with the Titans.
The success of the team’s uniform unveil in downtown Nashville on April 4th, which drew more than 20,000 fans and included a concert by Florida Georgia Line, presumably made a good impression on league officials.
“When we were discussing the April 4th event, the talk was: Nashville is the perfect city to do what we are doing for that event,” Strunk said previously. “With Broadway and Nissan Stadium in the background, it is so exciting.”
The NFL Draft returns to primetime with Round 1 on Thursday, April 25. Rounds 2 and 3 will follow on Friday, April 26, and Rounds 4-7 will conclude the event on Saturday, April 27.
As part of the event, the NFL Draft Experience Presented By Oikos Triple Zero® – a massive free football festival – will allow fans of all teams to participate and test their football skills, enjoy interactive exhibits and autograph sessions, and take pictures with the Vince Lombardi Trophy, according to a release from the NFL. The Draft Experience will be open all three days of the event.
Goodell presides over the first day of the NFL Draft. In previous years, many of the players projected as first-round draft picks have been invited to attend.
The 2018 event set a record as the highest-rated and most-watched draft ever, eclipsing the previous record set in 2014. The 2018 Draft marked the first time that the entirety of the event was aired on broadcast television, which helped attract more than 45 million total viewers over three days of coverage.
According to the NFL, the 2018 NFL Draft ranks as the second-most talked about sports event this year across social platforms, behind only Super Bowl LII.
“Nashville is honored to host the 2019 NFL Draft. We are prepared to deliver a unique Music City experience and an NFL-caliber event,” Spyridon said. “I would like to thank the Titans and owner, Amy Adams Strunk, for their support and the NFL for their confidence.”