The NFL announced the 2019 Draft will be hosted by the Tennessee Titans. The team and league should thank the Nashville Predators.
There is a saying that goes “strike while the iron is hot.” It comes from the craft of a blacksmith, who heats iron until it is white hot and then forges it into shape. Should the blacksmith delay the strikes and allow the iron to cool, shaping and sharpening the metal is fruitless. Earlier this week, the NFL announced the 2019 Draft will be hosted by the Tennessee Titans in Nashville. They should thank the Nashville Predators.
The city of Nashville has been in the sports spotlight for the last 12 to 18 months. Certainly, the Titans winning a playoff game last season brought eyes to the team, especially considering the way they won. However, the success of the Predators and the NHL escorted this city into a new place. Long considered an SEC town, the Predators run to the Stanley Cup Final last year and earning the President’s Trophy this season is changing the narrative of Nashville. The nation witnessed tens of thousands of people filling the streets around Bridgestone during the Cup Final last year. Game 6 of the 2017 Cup Final drew 7 million viewers, only the second time the NHL experienced that high of viewership since 2009.
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The city was overtaken by Predators fever. Eyes were on this city the greater part of a full year. Historic moments for the Predators during the season encouraged greater following from national media. Could the Predators contend for the Central Division? Or the Conference title? While hopes of a return to the Stanley Cup final were thwarted, the Nashville Predators drew national attention.
There is no doubting Nashville’s place as one of the greatest cities in the United States. I lived in Atlanta for many years (still the worst traffic), and have traveled to Washington D.C., New York, Chicago, New Orleans, Denver, and Dallas (arguably the second worst traffic). All cities have their flavor, but Nashville is different. Maybe it is the food, the music, or the hospitality, but this city is meant for special events like the NFL Draft.
The NHL All-Star game was held here in 2017 and was a fantastic feature for the city. It presented a litmus test for sports leagues looking for event space. Much like how Indianapolis did with the Super Bowl in 2012, Nashville showed that mid-markets are capable of hosting major sporting events.
So, while locality may play a part in the decision, or the fact the city is a major tourist and leisure location, the Nashville Predators’ success certainly drew the attention of the NFL. You’re welcome, NFL fans.