The city of Nashville shattered the record for attendance during the three days of the NFL draft Thursday through Saturday.

According to the NFL, more than 600,000 people flooded the streets of Nashville for the three days of the draft.

Will New Orleans ever get a chance to eclipse that record with football fans showing up to Champions' Square or Bourbon Street in droves as the Big Easy hosts the NFL Draft?

Probably not.

The city of New Orleans loves its football — the city was the draft's No. 2 TV market, according to the NFL, even though the Saints didn't have a first-round pick — but it is much too busy with two major events of its own the week of the NFL draft.

"Pretty much the reason we have passed on bidding on the draft is the dates conflict with the Zurich Classic (golf tournament) as well as Jazz Fest," said Jay Cicero, president and CEO of the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation.

Cicero and the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation have won bids to bring major events like the Super Bowl, the Final Four and Wrestlemania to New Orleans. But logistically, bringing the draft here would be almost impossible.

"The draft, the Zurich Classic and Jazz Fest are dependent on locals to attend also," Cicero said. " A lot of out-of-town people come, but they count on locals too. Not only would there be no hotel rooms available, but something is going to give if you brought the draft here because you need the locals. It seems to work real well with the Zurich and Jazz Fest being here on the same weekend. But if you added the draft, it's more of a pull on everything local."

The 600,000 people who attended the draft in Nashville easily broke the record of 250,000 who watched the draft in Philadelphia in 2017.

The draft also broke a record as far as viewership. According to numbers released by the NFL, 47.5 million viewers watched the draft. The ratings were up 5 percent from 2018's record-setting year, the first in which all seven rounds were broadcast on network TV.

Even though the Saints didn't pick until the second day of the draft and New Orleans fans have bitter feelings over a no-call that cost the team a potential victory in the NFC championship game, fans in the city still tuned in and helped drive up those record ratings. New Orleans drew an 8.3 television rating, only second to host city Nashville at 10.6.

+4 
+4 
Erik McCoy Grade
+4 
+4 
Chauncey Gardner-Johnson Grade
+4 
+4 
Saquan Hampton Grade
+4 
+4 
Alize Mack Grade
+4 
+4 
Kaden Elliss Grade

Cicero wasn't surprised by those numbers.

"We're always in the top 5 of viewed audiences, whether it's Monday Night Football or whatever," Cicero said. "And if it's a Saints game, it's just off the charts."

But chances are, the folks in New Orleans will always have to tune in to watch the draft instead of attending it in their hometown. At least as long as the Zurich Classic and Jazz Fest are in town that week.

"We just can't fit it," Cicero said. "If the date of the draft ever moved, then we would certainly seriously consider evaluating the bid."

Saints remain aggressive, move up to grab coveted player for second straight day


Follow Rod Walker on Twitter, @rwalkeradvocate.