A little bit country
ENTERTAINMENT: Country music has always been at the heart of Nashville. The Tennessee city is the home of the legendary Grand Ole Opry theatre and the place where thousands of country stars got their start. Now a new generation of international tourists is visiting Nashville, thanks to a TV series of the same name.
Nashville, the ABC series, has been sold to 50 countries since it was first broadcast in 2012. Nashville fans can take bus tours of the show’s set and visit sites such as the Grand Ole Opry and the Bluebird Café, which features in the show — and where real country singers perform.
“The show is having a very positive influence on visitation,” says Butch Spryridon, CEO of the Nashville Convention and Visitors Corporation. “The longer the show stays in play, the greater that impact will be,” Spryridon told The Tennessean.
"The show is having a very positive influence on visitation." Butch Spryridon
The state of Tennessee provided the show’s producers with a $12.5-million grant for the second season. Further grants came from the city ($500,000) as well as the Convention and Visitors’ Corporation and the Event Marketing Fund ($250,000). Financial assistance is based on the expectation that the show’s visiting fans will spend $40 million in the city.
Not everyone approves of government funding for Nashville, however. “We certainly hope that a show promoting Nashville would be successful and would draw attention to our city, but that doesn’t mean taxpayers have to pay for it,” says Justin Owen, president of The Beacon Center of Tennessee, a non-profit group that lobbies for limited government.
Meanwhile, local hotelier Ray Waters says he has to watch the show, because people all over the country ask him about it. "I’m literally having to record it and stay on top of it just so I can converse with people. I was in L.A. last week and in New York this week. They all want to talk about it.”