2016 Event Brought in Nearly $60 Million in
Visitor Spending

NASHVILLE—The 2016 CMA Music Festival generated strong economic activity for Nashville, remaining the city’s largest annual tourism event, according to research released today by the Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp. The 2016 event, which took place June 9 to 12, generated $59.5 million in direct visitor spending, in line with the $60.4 million in visitor spending in 2015.

“This event still reigns supreme as the ultimate success story and our largest annual event, bringing national television exposure to Nashville and global recognition to our Music City brand,” said Butch Spyridon, President and CEO of the Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp. “We can’t thank CMA and all the participating artists enough for what they do for the city in terms of the economic activity generated and the millions of dollars raised for music education.”

This year’s CMA Fest sold out months in advance, resulting in a record-setting daily attendance of 88,500 fans. Since 2006, CMA and the CMA Foundation have donated more than $13.6 million to music education initiatives nationwide.

“The City of Nashville contributes so much to the success of CMA Music Festival,” said Sarah Trahern, CMA Chief Executive Officer. “So, it is extremely rewarding that this event is benefiting the community where we live and work through the support of music education programs and direct visitor spending.”

CMA Music Fest produces the most direct visitor spending of any tourism event held in Nashville, and, at $59.5 million, visitor spending remained strong this year. Visitors included both ticketholders to the nighttime concerts at Nissan Stadium, as well as non-ticketholders who attended free concerts during the day.

Research showed that stays in home rentals, like Airbnb and VRBO, nearly doubled to 9.2 percent from 4.9 percent in 2015. Some 74.6 percent of attendees said they stayed in a hotel, down from 80.6 percent in 2015.

“Even though we saw more people gravitate to more affordable home rental accommodations, which would account for the relatively flat growth in visitor spending, this was another hugely successful event that should be celebrated,” Spyridon said.

Research also showed a positive trend with international visitors with that percentage increasing to 12.6 percent from 10.3 percent in 2015. Travelers from other countries is a growth market for tourism in Nashville.

Other highlights include:

  • The percentage of attendees from out of town was 84.6 percent, compared to 83 percent last year.
  • About a third of attendees had attended CMA Fest in 2015.
  • Some 87.3 percent said they were likely to attend next year.
  • Average length of stay in Nashville was five nights.
  • Visitor spending generated by ticketholders of the nighttime concerts at Nissan Stadium was $45.5 million.

About CMA Music Festival: The Ultimate Country Music Fan Experience™ began in 1972 as Fan Fair®, bringing 5,000 fans to Nashville’s Municipal Auditorium. Now 45 years later, the legendary Festival has become the city’s signature music event hosting more than 88,500 fans from every state and two dozen foreign countries. The 2016 CMA Music Festival featured 11 stages with more than 600 artists and 100 hours of music. And it all benefits music education. Since 2006, CMA and the CMA Foundation have donated more than $13.6 million to sustainable music education initiatives across the U.S. thanks to the fans who attend CMA Music Festival and the artists who perform for free. CMA Music Festival was filmed for a national television special to air on the ABC Television Network. This is the 13th consecutive year the event has been filmed for a network television special, a feat no other music festival has achieved. “CMA Music Festival: Country’s Night to Rock” is executive-produced by Robert Deaton and airs Wednesday, Aug. 3 (8:00-11:00 PM/ET). The special will be hosted for the first time by Brett Eldredge and Thomas Rhett.

About The Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp: The mission of the Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp is to maximize the economic contribution of the convention and tourism industry to the community by developing and marketing Nashville as a premier destination. Visit the NCVC’s website at www.visitmusiccity.com and follow them on social media: Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest

On Behalf of Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp