Nashville's tourism industry raked in the cash this summer with several highly-attended music events and city-wide celebrations, according to new estimates by the Nashville Convention and Visitors Corp.
CMA Fest topped the list for the most visitor spending, bringing in an estimated $74.7 million during its four-day run.
“The summer was chock-full of live music and brought visitors from all over the world to Music City, helping bolster the city’s economic activity,” said Deana Ivey, president and CEO of the Nashville Convention and Visitors Corp (NCVC).
“The city welcomed stadium tours and music events that drove hotel demand to new heights, along with visitation and exposure for the city.”
Here's what you should know about the biggest events this summer and the tourism revenue they generated.
CMA Fest 2023 continued its streak as Nashville's largest annual tourism event. It produces the highest level of direct spending of any annual tourism event in the city, year after year. This year's 50th anniversary celebration was no different.
According to the NCVC, this year's fest saw the number of hotel rooms sold increase 3% from last year. Hotel revenue also increased 7.4% with an average length of stay of 4.9 nights.
Visitors came from all over the country, but the top states were Florida, New York, Illinois, Kentucky and Ohio. Sixty-one percent of visitors to this year's fest said it was their first time, and 94% of the total attendees surveyed said they would return in 2024.
Let Freedom Sing! Music City July 4th
Nashville's Independence Day celebration was also a hit for out-of-town guests. The party brought in $11.6 million in estimated direct visitor spending, an increase from 2022's $11 million. The event also drove downtown hotel demand with an 8% increase over last year.
Out of the 250,000 attendees, 82.7% were visitors.
Taylor Swift Eras Tour
The nationwide concert event of the summer brought in a pile of money and skyrocketing hotel room demand for the entire weekend of shows.
Taylor Swift, who credits Nashville as her musical hometown, graced the stage at Nissan Stadium in early May for three nights, generating a total audience of nearly 212,000 people in total (and that's not counting those who watched the show from the pedestrian bridge).
Swift also set a record for the most attendees at Nissan Stadium for a single event during each night of her 3-day tour, ending with 71,000 fans on Sunday.
Hotel occupancy was a whopping 96% on May 6, and the three days combined brought in an estimated $2.2 million in hotel taxes alone.
Ed Sheeran at Nissan Stadium
Ed Sheeran swooped in a couple months after the Eras Tour and broke Nissan Stadium's attendance record once again, with 73,874 fans on July 22.
Sheeran also performed at the Ryman Auditorium during his visit to Nashville.
NHL Draft and Awards, SEC Media Days
The 2023 NHL Draft was one of the high-profile summer sporting events this year, hosted on Broadway and at Bridgestone Arena. Nashville's NHL Draft was the most viewed on record, averaging 681,000 spectators, according to ESPN.
Average viewership increased 49% compared to last year, and total viewership peaked at 903,000 viewers.
The NHL Awards averaged 247,000 viewers on TNT. It was the largest audience for the event since 2017.
Nashville also served as the backdrop of SEC Media Days. The top players of Division 1 college football from across the south gathered in Nashville for nationally televised events across media platforms.
This article originally appeared on Nashville Tennessean: CMA Fest to Taylor Swift: How much tourists spent on Nashville events