Five of the 65 convention meetings scheduled for Nashville’s new Music City Center are booked for organizations that remain “confidential” to the public.
Despite the anonymity, Nashville Convention and Visitors Bureau officials say these organizations have signed letters of commitment guaranteeing the groups’ use of Music City Center for future events.
On Monday, the CVB celebrated Music City Center clearing 600,000 total booked hotel-room nights, issuing a press release that said the benchmark “speaks to the continued high demand of Nashville.”
The CVB hopes to have 1,000,000 room nights booked before Music City Center’s opening in February 2013.
A cumulative list of Music City Center’s future conventions shows the city’s new $585 million, taxpayer-funded convention center has attracted 65 conventions and is expected to attract an estimated 498,200 people and produce 601,180 room nights.
The new center’s largest booked convention is the National Rifle Association’s convention set for April 2015, projected to bring 48,000 people and generate more than 15,700 room nights.
Other well-publicized events include the 2014 NCAA Women’s Basketball Final Four and the 2015, 2016 and 2019 SEC Men’s Basketball tournaments, which will actually be held at Bridgestone Arena but were counted in the MCC's totals. Lesser known, and decidedly smaller events, include conventions organized by the National Ground Water Association, Electronic Security Expo and many others.
Then there are the mystery groups.
A CVB spreadsheet of MCC bookings shows four conventions booked for an unnamed organization generically named “Confidential Group” and one convention booked for “Confidential Group 2”
The four events scheduled for “Confidential Group” — booked for the years 2014, 2016, 2019 and 2022 — account for 33,348 of MCC’s total room nights. A 2019 “Confidential Group 2” event accounts for 7,400 room nights.
Andrea Arnold, the CVB’s spokeswoman, said these particularly groups requested they remain confidential, with reasons differing for each group. She said the “confidential groups” have signed letters of commitment for their events.
“They are binding letters of commitment,” Arnold said. “When the center officially opens, they will have official contracts, but there aren’t any official contracts from Metro Legal yet for the center.
“So, we’ve devised a letter of commitment that’s just as binding ... “ she said. “Signing it ensures they’re going to be here. It’s the same kind of binding as a contract, but it’s a letter of commitment with the CVB.”
She said the identities of the organizations are not public record.