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Expected Impact Of Bowl Game, NYE Up to $40 Mill

Posted at 5:20 PM, Dec 30, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-30 20:09:03-05

Whether it's team spirit, concert-going or bringing in the new year, events this weekend in Nashville have given hundreds of thousands of people reasons to flock to town.

"More fun here than in Milwaukee - it's cold there!" laughed mom and daughter Carolyn and Hannah Bjorklund, sporting their Nebraska sweatshirts downtown. 

It's a time of year that the Visitors Corp says actually used to be pretty dead.

"What was pretty slow, soft Dec 30, Dec 31," recalled Convention and Visitors Corp President Butch Spyridon on Friday, "tonight the city will run about 83 percent occupancy, 27,000 rooms, tomorrow night it's at about 94 percent."

With the visitors come dollar signs for Davidson County. Because when they buy food, drinks and hotel rooms Nashville reaps the sales tax.

"Probably will be (spending) about a thousand dollars when we're done spending money," the Bjorklund's said, estimating for their family of six.

"It pays a lot of bills, it pays for schools, police, fire, roads, it's what drives the engine in a state that doesn't have an income tax," Spyridon said.

The Visitors Corp expects New Years Eve to bring in $20 million dollars alone. Fans from the bowl game, especially if they hang around another night, could contribute another $15 million to $20 million.

Alison Lloyd came to town with a group of almost 20 people from the Chattanooga area. They went to the game and are staying through New Years Eve, packing multiple events into one weekend.

"We try to do that to make it worth it, and Nashville is so easy," she said, "we're staying at a hotel and Uber has been good to us."

It's a plan that marries sports with music. Concerts are planned for Bridgestone Arena and the Ryman Auditorium as well as the stage at BiCentennial Mall.

"We think as soon as you're done with Christmas and family this is a great place to come and hang out," Spyridon said.

And it has a big impact on Nashville's bottom line.