In April, Nashville will host the National Football League (NFL) draft where all 32 teams will pick players from college. The talk this week has been about whether or not Nashville could host the Super Bowl.
My answer is: maybe.
Nashville could host the Super Bowl if:
They build a new stadium. Yes, Nashville is in the South but it isn’t far enough South where you would want to play the Super Bowl outside in Nissan Stadium. It is bitterly cold here this week and not exactly the ideal place to play the game. Nashville would need to build a dome or retractable roof stadium. I think that would benefit the city in many ways since it would also give Nashville a larger concert venue. The only hitch is how to pay for it. The city is already grappling with building a stadium for the Major League Soccer team set to begin in 2020. Building a stadium is a huge deal if Nashville hopes to host a Super Bowl.
Have a better transit system. Nashville is a mess when you need to attend events downtown and when you venture out to do so, you’d better pack some patience and some money because it’s not going to be easy or cheap. The city does not have any form of easy transit system. The downtown area is very compact and not as spread out as it is in other host cities. To add to the traffic headache, the streets are cluttered with other vehicular irritants such as pedal taverns, electric scooters, party wagons and ignorant pedestrians. Without a serious transit system in and out of downtown, there is no easy way to manage the crowds for a Super Bowl game in the Music City.
Remember that I mentioned it wouldn’t be cheap? Let me just say that the hotels and parking vendors can jack up the prices to the ridiculous level. They are good at price gouging for special events.
If there is one thing that is in Nashville’s favor, it is that the city knows how to entertain and throw a party. The NFL would definitely give the Country Music Capital of the world another reason to party. There is never a lack of entertainment here and the Super Bowl would another chance for the city to be in the world’s spotlight.
There are also some other rather interesting things that the NFL requires from cities who desire to host the Super Bowl. For Minneapolis to host last year’s Super Bowl, here are some of the requirements they had to meet:
- Stadium must have a minimum of 70,000 fixed seats, luxury boxes and enough hotel rooms throughout the city.
- Two top quality bowling lanes
- Two top quality 18-hole golf courses in near proximity to the host venue
- Team hotels must subscribe to the NFL Network for at least one year leading up to the Super Bowl
- League is given priority over all other ice and snow project removal.
- Removal of field after Super Bowl be at no cost to the NFL.
- Full tax exemption from city, state and local taxes on tickets sold to the game and events leading up to it.
- If cellphone strength at the team hotels isn’t strong enough, the host committee “will be responsible [for erecting] a sufficient number of portable cellular towers.”
- The league has the option to install ATMs at the stadium that accept NFL preferred credit and debit cards, and the option to cover up ATMs that don’t accept those preferred cards.
- The host city will pay all travel and expenses for a “familiarization trip” for the league to inspect the region ahead of the Super Bowl.
- Local media is also asked to provide “significant advertising and promotional time” — for free, of course — in the weeks leading up to the Super Bowl.
If Nashville truly wants a legitimate shot at hosting a Super Bowl, they have a long time to do as the next Super Bowl game would be available in 2025. The future hosts will be: Miami, Florida (2020), Tampa, Florida (2021), Los Angeles, California (2022), Glendale, Arizona (2023) and New Orleans, Louisiana (2024).
I would not count on Nashville being considered as a host for the Super Bowl until they build a new stadium and improve transit downtown. There are too many other cities that are better equipped to handle the big game and everything that goes with it.