Tourism leader wants Grammys, NHL All-Star Game in Nashville

Monday, February 22, 2010 at 11:43pm

Riding a wave of confidence after last month’s approval of a new $585 million convention center, Nashville’s leading tourism official envisions Music City vying to host the Grammy Awards and NHL All-Star Game in the future.

Already, Nashville’s newly christened Bridgestone Arena (formerly the Sommet Center) is slated to accommodate the 2014 NCAA Division I Women’s Final Four, with backers who pushed for the construction of Music City Center contending the future 1.2 million-square-foot facility clinched the deal for the tournament’s arrival.

When asked what signature events Nashville would try to attract next, Butch Spyridon, president of the Nashville Convention and Visitors Bureau, told The City Paper, “NHL All-Star Game — we’ll go after that.”

“My dream? Grammys,” he continued. “With Nashville’s brand and the strength of the industry, we need to pursue it.”

Given the 12-year-run of the Nashville Predators, Nashville’s candidacy for a future NHL All-Star Game is natural. Though the ongoing Winter Olympics meant the cancellation of this year’s all-star game, recent host cities include Montreal, Atlanta and Dallas.

On paper, Nashville’s viability in hosting a future Grammy Awards ceremony — the last six of which have been held in Los Angeles — may seem improbable, but there are a few connections.

Nashville is one of 12 cities nationwide that is home to a regional chapter of the Recording Academy, the group of recording professionals that puts on the Grammy Awards. In addition, the organization’s chair George Flanigen calls Nashville home.

Moreover, Nashville hosted the Grammy Awards in 1973 at the old Tennessee Theatre before the ceremony began alternating locations between New York and Los Angeles.

Spyridon said Nashville would have the facilities to host a Grammy ceremony once Music City Center and its adjacent hotel are complete. He also said there’s a “broadened perception” of the Music City brand, with 18 of the most recent Grammy Award winners having connections to Nashville.

Spyridon made it clear, however, that there’s been no formal effort to promote Nashville as an occasional or one-year host of the Grammy Awards, adding all talk is “casual.”

“I’ve kind of just thrown the softball out that we want to be interested,” he said. “We haven’t put it together because we needed the new [Music City Center]. We needed to get approval. The hotel needs to be definitive.”

Mayor Karl Dean said commenting on the matter would be premature.

“Obviously, I think Nashville is a very attractive city for any large event,” Dean said. “Right now, while we’re still working on the convention center, it’s probably premature to discuss the Grammys. It’s obviously something we would be interested and honored in, but it’s premature to be talking about that.” 

4 Comments on this post:

By: xhexx on 2/23/10 at 9:54

This article is completely full of crap and is just pimping for Dean's convention palace. Unless the Women's Final Four is going to play basketball inside the convention center, why would it's construction be instrumental in getting the tournament? The games are going to be played in the Arena.

So the Grammy's won't come here without the convention center hotel? What, there aren't any other hotels downtown? They couldn't host the Grammy's at the Opry House and use the Opryland Hotel? They couldn't host the Grammy's in our Schemmerhorn Symphony Hall? They're going to host the Grammy's inside a convention center? Yeah, right.

By: concernedtaxpayer on 2/23/10 at 11:18

Davidson County taxpayers already know they will be paying up some for the new convention center. The current convention center can not even support itself without a subsidy. And why do they want a NHL All-Star Game? Currently, Davidson County taxpayers already provide a $7.7 million subsidy yearly to the predators and how many metro taxpayers attend the games? I can actually think of more individuals from the surrounding counties that attend the games then Metro taxpayers. This stuff is just something else Dean and his cronies are going to use to get the hotel built. I guess they think the convention center and hotel is needed for the media to have their storage and interviewing location next door with the ability to stay nearby.

By: joe41 on 2/23/10 at 3:20

The previous two posters displayed their ignorance. There are many events connected with both events. If you have ever attended either one, there will be many events and exhibits because there will be many visitors staying downtown for numerous days.


By: concernedtaxpayer on 2/23/10 at 4:38


You are the one displaying your ignorance. It is understood that other events are connected. If you actually read what was posted you would see that their is a need for the other buildings. However, Nashville is not the city to do any of this. The only thing downtown has to offer is allowing people to drink and listen to music. All of this equals promoting tourists to come to this city to get drunk when they could go to another area that actually has other tourist activities. Very few tourist come to Nashville to attend the Country Music Hall of Fame or go to the Grand Ole Opry. In fact, many tourist do not even like country music other than those that attend the CMA Music Festival.