Butch Spyridon Named 2021 Recipient of Fred Russell Distinguished American Award
Butch Spyridon has served as president and CEO of the Nashville Convention & Visitors Corporation (NCVC) since 1991. Under his leadership, Nashville’s hospitality industry has evolved from an industry largely based on theme park and summer leisure travel, to a year-round destination for convention, business and leisure visitors. Hospitality’s evolution has made it the city’s second largest industry and elevated annual revenues to $4 billion.
His impact on local sports is monumental and his handprints are on virtually every major sporting event, professional team and stadium in Nashville. Spyridon played a major role in the “NFL Yes!” campaign which was successful in a new stadium referendum required for the Titans franchise to move to Nashville in 1997 and begin play in the new stadium in 1999. Remember the highly popular NFL draft held downtown on April 25-27, 2019? Spyridon was involved from day one of presentations to the NFL to bring that massive event to Nashville resulting in a financial windfall and world-wide exposure for the city.
Are you a hockey fan? He was involved in gaining approval from the city to build Bridgestone Area which opened December 1996 with an Amy Grant concert. Spyridon was a member of the successful team that lobbied the NHL for a franchise, which was granted in 1997 and the Predators hosted their first game on Oct. 10, 1998. Spyridon aided the Predators leadership and community leaders in securing the NHL Entry Draft on June 21-22, 2003, another major event for our city thanks in part to his efforts.
How about a soccer fan? Nissan Stadium has hosted major international soccer games over the years and Spyridon has been a major player in a contingent of business leaders in their attempts to secure soccer’s World Cup games! And yes, he played a role in the successful campaign for the construction of Nashville SC’s new stadium that will open later this year.
Less we forget baseball, you would be correct in thinking he was once again involved in the successful campaign to build First Horizon Park, home of the Nashville Sounds, which opened in April 2015.
There is no doubt that for the most part, Spyridon is a man behind the scenes for every major local sport. It is our honor and privilege to place him in the spotlight tonight and to recognize him as our Fred Russell Distinguished American Award. It is our highest adult award given each year to a local supporter of American values and the Midstate community!
The late Fred Russell was the sports editor of the Nashville Banner, the local afternoon newspaper from 1930-98. Russell was one of three founding board members of this NFF chapter in 1961 and once received the Distinguished American Award from the National Football Foundation. Russell is a member of the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame, the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Hall of Fame among others.