FIFA’s decision to pass on Nashville as a 2026 World Cup host city just didn’t sit right with Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp CEO Butch Spyridon.
He vowed to show FIFA officials the opportunity they missed.
With plans in the works to host the College Football Playoffs and eventually a Super Bowl, Spyridon’s attention is currently diverted to the NHL with Nashville the reported frontrunner to host the 2023 NHL Draft.
“Preds are the favorite to host 2023 Draft in Nashville, but not yet a done deal,” The Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli tweeted at the conclusion of the 2022 NHL Draft in Montreal.
ESPN’s Greg Wyshynski confirmed Seravalli’s report on Tuesday but also stated hotel availability was a concern for NHL officials. Spyridon, however, maintained that there are no concerns on Nashville’s end regarding visitor lodging.
“As we are constantly looking for the next big opportunity for the city, we have been in conversations with the NHL about 2023,” he said in a statement. “Room availability is not an issue. We are working through details and waiting to see if the city is selected. Nothing is signed or confirmed. If not 2023, then maybe 2024 or another year.”
Nashville has hosted the NHL Draft just once (2003), and while the event doesn’t provide the kind of frenzy — or crowds — that the NFL Draft brings with it (the 2019 NFL Draft drew over 600,000 fans), a sizeable turnout is expected.
Previous Nashville-hosted NHL events have fared pretty well.
The 2022 Stadium Series, while held at Nissan Stadium and not Bridgestone Arena, drew a crowd of over 68,000 and had an estimated economic impact between $15 and $20 million. The 2016 NHL All-Star Game drew an attendance of 17,113, and at the time it was the most-watched NHL All-Star game since 2004. It had an economic impact of approximately $25 million.
Follow Michael Gallagher on Twitter @MGsports_