Mike OrganNashville Tennessean
WrestleMania is headed to Nashville provided a proposed enclosed stadium is built in the next five years.
Butch Spyridon, CEO of the Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp., had spoken in the past with World Wrestling Entertainment about hosting WrestleMania. When Mayor John Cooper and the Tennessee Titans delivered the draft terms for the enclosed proposed stadium to the Nashville Council in October, those talks ramped up and Spyridon received a verbal commitment from WWE to host the 2027 WrestleMania with the provision the stadium is built.
WrestleMania is one of the world's largest entertainment events. It reaches more than one billion homes in 57 countries annually. It would have an estimated economic impact of $206.5 million on Nashville.
WWE brought its second-biggest annual premium live event to Nashville in July when SummerSlam took place at Nissan Stadium.
“The minute the mayor’s office and the Titans released the stadium term sheet, we started looking for opportunities," Spyridon said. "WWE had an incredible experience at Nissan Stadium this past summer, and we started talking. WrestleMania is considered the No. 6 top sports event brand in the world, and we are grateful for their confidence and belief in Nashville."
The proposal to build a$2.1 billion enclosed stadiumwill be voted on by the Metro Council. Spyridon recently met with the Council to report the deal with WrestleMania was in place.
"(WrestleMania) is a weeklong event potentially worth upwards of $200 million and is broadcast in 57 countries," Spyridon told the Council. "This is just the beginning of what our city can do if the stadium deal is approved. Deep appreciation to WWE, the Titans and the state for getting this done."
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Spyridon also told the Council WrestleMania is the No. 1 most followed sports brand over all social media platforms.
The WWE released this statement confirming its intention to come to Nashville provided the proposed stadium gets built.
“Nashville has exploded as a cultural center in the United States and as the land of opportunity. WWE looks forward to hosting many events in partnership with the great city of Nashville at the proposed enclosed stadium.”
Spyridon called WrestleMania, "CMA Fest on steroids: equivalent to two-to-three CMA Fests in one week in terms of impact."
The 38th edition of WrestleMania took place in April at AT&T Stadium, the home of the Dallas Cowboys, in Arlington, Texas, where 156,352 people attended.
The 2023 host will be SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles and 2024 will be Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia. Sites beyond 2024 have not been announced.
Bridgestone Arena nominated again for Arena of the Year
Bridgestone Arena has been nominated for Arena of the Year for 2023 by Pollstar Magazine.
It is the 15th consecutive time Bridgestone Arena has been nominated. It won the award in 2014 and 2017.
Also, Bridgestone Arena and Nashville Predators executive vice president of entertainment & venues David Kells was nominated for Pollstar’s Venue Executive of the Year award. He won the award in 2017 and 2022.
Bridgestone Arena ranked third in the U.S. and fourth in the world for gross ticket sale revenue, according to Pollstar's 2022 third-quarter industry report. The quarterly report stated Bridgestone Arena grossed $54,803,565.60 in revenue and sold 536,802 tickets.
Other 2023 arena nominees: Madison Square Garden (New York), Climate Pledge Arena (Seattle), Dickies Arena (Fort Worth, Texas), Kia Forum (Inglewood, California), Moody Center (Austin, Texas).
The 34th Annual Pollstar Awards ceremony will take place Feb. 22 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles.
Big 50th anniversary celebration set for MTSU's Murphy Center
A celebration is set for the 50th anniversary of Middle Tennessee State’s Murphy Center on Dec. 15.
The Blue Raiders men’s basketball team will play Chattanooga at 6 p.m.
Several influential individuals from the building’s history have been invited to attend and will be recognized at the game.
Members of Charles “Bubber” Murphy’s family are among the invitees. The building was named in honor of Murphy, who coached football, basketball and baseball at MTSU.
Members of former coach Jimmy Earl’s 1972 team, which was the first to play at Murphy Center on Dec. 11 of that season, will be at the game.
There also will be a video highlighting the concerts and top sports events that have taken place at the center.
Dave McGinnis calls Patriots-Jets game on Titans' day off
After playing on Thursday, the Titans had last Sunday off, but radio analyst Dave McGinnis worked.
McGinnis handled the analysis for the New York Jets at New England Patriots game for the national radio broadcast on the Sports USA network.
McGinnis was joined by Larry Kahn, who handled the play-by-play for the game won by the Patriots 10-3.
TSU QB Tucker Pope enters transfer portal
Tennessee State quarterback Tucker Pope, who started in coach Eddie George’s first game as the Tigers' coach in 2021, entered the transfer portal.
Pope started as a freshman in the Black College Football Hall of Fame Classic in Canton, Ohio, against Grambling in the 2021 season opener.
Pope also played against Southeast Missouri that season but did not see any action this season.
He is from Walker Academy in Cleveland, Tennessee, and was the 34th-ranked quarterback in Tennessee as a high school senior, according to Tennessee Gridiron Scouting Report.
Walt Wells named ASUN coach of the year
Former McGavock and Austin Peay offensive lineman Walt Wells, now the coach at Eastern Kentucky, was named the Atlantic Sun coach of the year.
Wells, who recovered after suffering a heart attack in August, led the Colonels to a 7-4 record and a berth in the FCS playoffs.
He is in his third season at EKU. Wells previously coached at Tennessee, Kentucky, South Florida, Western Kentucky, New Mexico State and Cumberland. He began his career at Smyrna High in 1992.
Jerry Broadbent, who set the Metro record for longest run from scrimmage, dies at 78
Jerry Broadbent, a Glencliff running back who set the Nashville Interscholastic League record for longest run from scrimmage with a 99-yard scamper and later became a high school coach, died Wednesday after suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. He was 78.
The week after Broadbent made the 99-yard run against West in his senior season in 1961 he matched the record with a run against Franklin County on the same play call.
He rushed for 1,195 yards and made The Tennessean All-City team as a senior after helping the Colts post a 9-2 record and earn a berth in the Rebel Bowl.
Broadbent went on to play at MTSU and then spent 24 years as a coach at DuPont (1966-84) and Glencliff (1984-90). He was a head coach the last 11 seasons and posted a 61-52 record.
Broadbent led Glencliff to a 10-1 record and the District 12-AAA championship in 1989.
After retiring from Metro, Broadbent was named the interim head coach at Watertown in 1992.
He was inducted into the Metro Football Hall of Fame in 2004.
Clarksville's Rob Long to be inducted into golf hall of fame
Rob Long, one of the winningest amateur golfers in Tennessee history, will become the 54th member of the Tennessee Golf Hall of Fame. He will be inducted March 25 during a ceremony in his hometown of Clarksville.
Long is a two-time Tennessee State Open champion (1987, 2003) and a winner of 10 TGA state titles overall – three Tennessee Mid-Amateurs (1988, 89, 91), three Tennessee Four-Balls (1996, 97, 07), the 1987 Tennessee Match Play and the 2002 Tennessee Two-Man Scramble.
On the national level, Long has made 15 appearances in U.S. Golf Association championships, including four U.S. Amateur tournaments, six U.S. Public Links, three U.S. Mid-Amateurs, one U.S. Senior Open and one State Team Championship.
Long was an All-OVC golfer at Austin Peay in the 1970s before turning pro in 1980.He regained his amateur status five years later.
MTSU's Abby Shoulders transfers to Tennessee Tech
Abby Shoulders, a former Macon County softball standout who spent last season at MTSU, has transferred to Tennessee Tech.
Shoulders is an infielder/utility player who played in 36 games and started in 27 as a freshman. She batted .143 with 11 hits, 12 runs scored and seven RBIs.
Shoulders also played basketball and soccer at Macon County.
Her sister Allyson played softball at Cumberland and her father Chad played baseball at Aquinas Junior College.
Tony White repeats as Flying Monkey Marathon winner
Tony White won the Harpeth Hills Flying Monkey Marathon in 2 hours, 49 minutes, 51 seconds followed by Eric Waterman (2:55:53) and Ralston Hartness (3:09:39).
White, 37, also won the race in 2020 (2:47:10) and won the Nashville Triathlon four consecutive years (2013-16).
Former Vanderbilt cross country star Yanek McKenzie, 24, was the top female finisher (3:16:27).
Earlier this month, Max Randal won the Nashville Marathon, which started on 6th Ave. N. next to the Farmers' Market, in 2:28:51 followed by Ricardo Whitaker (2:51:49) and Daniel Ray (2:52:06).
Jill Dennes was the top female finisher (3:00:27).
Zach Israel won the Nashville Half-Marathon (1:11:18) and Lydia Camp (1:24:08) was the top female finisher.
Ex-Overton star John Ford II is a Buck Buchanan finalist
Former Overton linebacker John Ford II, now a graduate student at UT Martin, is a finalist for the Buck Buchanan award, which goes annually to the FCS national defensive player of the year.
Ford was named the OVC defensive player of the year on Tuesday. He was third in the OVC with 106 tackles and tackles for loss with 10.5.
Austin Peay sophomore linebacker Antoine Williams is also a finalist and Austin Peay graduate student defensive lineman Chukwuemeka Manning Jr. is a finalist for the Doris Robinson Scholar-Athlete Award along with Tennessee Tech senior linebacker Seth Carlisle, who is from Red Boling Springs.
TSU's Darius Harper is OVC defensive player of the week
TSU defensive back Darius Harper, the son of former Titans cornerback Nick Harper, was named the OVC defensive player of the week after the final week of the regular season.
Harper made several key plays to help the Tigers finish the season with a 22-14 win at Texas A&M-Commerce.
The senior from Ravenwood had two interceptions, one which he returned for a touchdown, and a fumble recovery.
On the final play of the game, Harper stripped a Texas A&M-Commerce receiver of the ball in the end zone.
TSU kicker/punter Kaleb Mosley was the specialist of the week. He was 3-of-3 on field goal attempts and averaged 39.1 yards on nine punts.
Also, TSU defensive end Davoan Hawkins accepted an invitation to play in the HBCU Pigskin Showdown. Hawkins will join Tigers offensive lineman Robert Lacey, who also accepted an invitation to the game which will be played Dec. 17 at Marion Military Institute in Alabama.
Tennessee Trojans women's football inaugural schedule set
The Tennessee Trojans, a Nashville-based women’s semipro football team, announced its inaugural schedule.
The Trojans' season opener will be on the road on April 1 against the Florida Avengers then April 15 at the Kansas City Glory, April 22 at home against Florida, at home April 29 against the Alabama Fire, May 13 at home against Kansas City and then May 20 on the road against the Philadelphia Phantomz.
The playoffs are June 8-10 and the Women’s National Football Conference Cup IX is June 25.
MTSU's Cunningham and Ross sweep Conference USA player awards
MTSU swept the Conference USA players of the week after the Blue Raiders beat visiting Florida Atlantic 49-21.
Quarterback Chase Cunningham was the top offensive player and cornerback Teldrick Ross won the defensive award.
Cunningham completed 40 of 54 passes for a career-high 448 yards with five touchdowns.
Ross, who ranks second nationally with 18 passes defended, had a career-high five pass breakups and seven tackles.
Cunningham and Ross helped the Blue Raiders become bowl eligible with the win.
Sports on Nashville TV
The five highest-rated sports events locally for the week ending Nov. 20:
1. NFL: Titans-Packers,19.4
2. NFL: Cowboys-Vikings,14.3
3. College football: Tennessee-S. Carolina, 11.9
4.NFL: Chiefs-Chargers, 8.8
5. NFL: Jets-Patriots, 8.5
Source: Mark Binda, WTVF-5 senior programming directorEach rating point is equal to 11,685 TV homes in the Nashville market.
If you have an item for Midstate Chatter contact Mike Organ at 615-259-8021 or on Twitter @MikeOrganWriter.