NASHVILLE, Tenn. — 600,000 people over three days. That's how many people were in downtown Nashville experiencing this year's NFL Draft, and most of them spent plenty of money while in town.
Looking at last year's draft in Dallas, the NFL found there was a $125 million economic impact, with nearly $75 million of that in taxable spending.
That led to just over$2 million going to the city in taxes and fees generated through the draft.
So in Nashville, where more than twice as many people came out, it seems likely the city should have made somewhere upwards of $200 million, maybe more.
That means the money the city gets from sales tax should be several millions dollars.
"The city and the state will decide how to spend it, our job is just to bring it in,” Butch Spyridon, president and CEO of the Nashville Convention and Visitors Corp. said on Monday, adding that they’re still figuring out the final numbers when it comes to economic impact.
Regardless of that final number, Mayor David Briley said he already knows the majority of the money the city takes in will go to schools.
"We expect to get millions of dollars in new revenue from the draft. Sales tax primarily, but also hotel/motel tax,” Briley said. “Those new sources of revenue will be used to go into the general fund, and 44% of the general fund goes towards public education, so a big increase in revenue from the draft, the biggest place it will go, will be public ed."
Some people have questioned if these high profile events are worth it when you look at the impact on local residents, but Metro Council member Freddie O'Connell said these big events do a lot more for the city than other small events.
"I'm more concerned that we're still doing downtown road closures for random little events,” O’Connell said. “We are allowing things that aren't world-class, showcase, signature, putting Nashville on the map events to be as disruptive to downtown life and work."
Most people still wish the city could see a larger benefit from hosting such a successful event, but the truth is, most of the money made is going to businesses, many of which are headquartered outside of Nashville, and not directly to the city.
The city is hoping to have final numbers on economic impact from the NFL Draft in the coming weeks.