NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — "The home of the Music City Miracle, right?" said Victor Montagliani, Vice President of FIFA, soccer's top governing body.
On the same field where Nashville pulled off that unthinkable play, tourism officials are hoping to do it again. "I think it would be a miracle because the national pundits, oddsmakers have us on the outside looking in," said Butch Spyridon, CEO of the Nashville Conventions and Visitors Corporation.
22 FIFA officials spent the whole day in Nashville, evaluating our prospects of being one of the hosts for soccer's biggest event, the World Cup in 2026. It would be the biggest event ever hosted in Nashville.
They spent time at seven different athletic facilities that could be training centers for the teams and a detailed look at Nissan Stadium. "We are here to do our due diligence, not only the stadium but the city and all things in between," said Montagliani.
We're told FIFA came ready with detailed questions, everything from human rights protections to, and this is true, how the toilets flush at Nissan Stadium.
Nashville is the smallest city still in the running, but FIFA leadership assured reporters, we have a fighting chance. "I think Nashville has put it’s best foot forward, of course, showing everything it has and everything it can be," said Montagliani.
And the VP of FIFA can probably answer that honestly, considering they made an unscheduled visit to Lower Broadway, Wednesday night. "20 out of 22 wandered down Broadway. They all got back safely, they were all up this morning paying attention. I think it helped us. It showed real Nashville in real time and that’s valuable," said Spyridon.
After leaving it all out on the field, Spyridon hopes we have at least one more miracle left in us. "Wish us luck," he said, with his fingers crossed.
FIFA has several more cities to visit and should have their list of selected host cities by the beginning of next year.