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Business News (more headlines) 07-12-2014

CMA Music Festival Direct Visitor Spending Reaches New High - $39.3 Million

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The 2014 CMA Music Festival contributed a record-setting $39.3 million in direct visitor spending to the local community according to numbers released by the Nashville Convention and Visitors Corp. (NCVC).

"As Nashville's largest event, CMA Music Festival continues to offer new experiences and keep our visitors coming year after year," said Nashville Mayor Karl Dean. "The event provides an enormous impact to the community through direct visitor spending and also strengthens local music programs through The CMA Foundation and Keep the Music Playing. I am proud to have such a signature event that fits perfectly with who we are as Music City."

"Nashville is fortunate that CMA Fest calls the City home. The uniqueness of the event combined with the collaboration of CMA with the City, the NCVC, and music industry has resulted in record-breaking success," said Ken Levitan, Chairman of the NCVC Board of Directors, President of Vector Management, and a member of the CMA Board of Directors. "The event is our Super Bowl, generating more direct visitor spending than any other event and providing prime-time, national TV exposure. With record room night sales and longer stays, it's a huge win for CMA and for the City."

According to the NCVC, the estimated number of room nights for Festival attendees was 150,000 and the average length of their visit was 5.6 days, up from 5.2 days in 2013.

Originally started as Fan Fair in 1972, the legendary event has featured performances by every major star in the format. What started with 5,000 fans in the Municipal Auditorium has grown to a daily attendance of more than 80,000, representing every state and two dozen foreign countries.

"Since moving to downtown Nashville in 2001, CMA Music Festival has experienced amazing growth, which has benefited our city in numerous ways," said Sarah Trahern, CMA Chief Executive Officer. "The Festival is a showcase for Music City that drives tourism, benefits music education, and generates a strong base of local revenue, with a significant impact on our community at large."

In 2001, the Festival generated $15.5 million in direct visitor spending; in 2013, that figure had grown to $31.5 million.

The Festival also benefits music education through The CMA Foundation's Keep the Music Playing campaign. To date, CMA and The CMA Foundation have contributed more than $9 million to supply instruments and musical equipment for every Metro Nashville Public School providing a strong incentive for students to stay engaged and graduate.

The reach of Country Music and the format's broader audience has had an impact on the Festival's attendee base, according to research collected by CMA during the event in June:

50 percent of attendees were attending for the first time (48 percent in 2013)
Among first-time attendees, 52 percent were visiting Nashville for the first time
76 percent of attendees traveled more than 250 miles
The average distance traveled to attend the festival was 665 miles
96 percent of attendees indicated plans or interest in returning next year
48 percent have an annual household income of $75,000 or more
The numbers are based on CMA's onsite/in-person surveying of 437 attendees over the four days.

Worldwide interest in the event is burgeoning. This year, four-day ticket packages sold out a record 15 weeks in advance. Tickets for the 2015 CMA Music Festival are outpacing sales for 2014 with nearly 80 percent of available seats already sold.

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