SEC Media Days – a yearly meeting hosted by the Southeastern Conference – is a gathering of football coaches, players and sports media that unofficially kicks off the new season. The ironic thing about the SEC Media Days is that in 20-plus years of the event, it has only been held in two places (Birmingham and Atlanta), neither of which has an SEC school.
That is, until 2023.
When SEC Media Days made a first-time stop in Nashville, Tennessee, this week, it held its annual gathering in a market home to a charter school in the SEC (Vanderbilt) and one of the most significant media markets in the conference.
And Regions, with its significant presence in Nashville and its role as Official Bank of the Southeastern Conference, was happy to be a part of the welcome to the Music City and as a sponsor of Media Days.
SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey, in his opening remarks for Media Days, talked about the professional teams and relationships with them in Nashville and was quick to add, “Nashville is one of the homes of the SEC. It’s also home to our students, families and alums.”
Having Media Days in Nashville makes all the sense in the world. We have Vanderbilt. The SEC men’s basketball tournament is here. This is a place that marries entertainment and athletics.Lee Blank, Regions Nashville Market Executive
But the connection is deeper than that. “Tennessee is home to two SEC members,” said Lee Blank, Regions Nashville Market Executive. “When you think about it, Nashville is an SEC melting pot. Lots of fans of all the SEC schools, and it’s a destination for college graduates.”
It’s just as significant for Regions – as one of the company’s core markets, with more than $10 billion in deposits, nearly 1,000 associates and more than 60 branches.
“Having Media Days in Nashville makes all the sense in the world,” Blank added. “We have Vanderbilt. The SEC men’s basketball tournament is here. This is a place that marries entertainment and athletics.”
That marriage includes one of the few cities in the U.S. that boasts teams in the NFL, NHL and MLS, as well as other professional teams.
Said Jeff Hite, Chief Economic Development Officer, Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce, “The relationship between the SEC and Nashville goes back nearly 90 years. There has always been a strong relationship between Nashville and the SEC.”
But having Media Days in Nashville and the way it’s being presented is significant.
The relationship between the SEC and Nashville goes back nearly 90 years. There has always been a strong relationship between Nashville and the SEC.Jeff Hite, Chief Economic Development Officer, Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce
“It’s really about the three brands – the SEC, Regions and Nashville – together. The brands are so strong. Everyone benefits from the association. The economic impact of having the event in Nashville is easily in the millions,” Hite added.
As a destination, close to 15 million people visit Nashville each year, but they stay for the quality of life. “There are 52 metro areas with populations of more than one million. Nashville ranks 35th, but we’re consistently in top 10 in job growth, population growth, GDP growth and more.”
“There is a reason we sponsor the SEC,” Lee added. “Our footprint and the SEC’s are almost the same, as is our shared history and a sense of community – both in Nashville and across our markets.”
“When you have something like Media Days, it an opportunity to highlight the brand in this market,” Blank said. “But it also presents an opportunity to promote our company and what we can do to both new people and existing customers.
“I do think that we take pride in our SEC connection. Within our core states, like the SEC says, it just means more.”