Ryman Hospitality Properties

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Ryman Hospitality Properties
Traded asNYSERHP
Russell 2000 Component
Founded1925; 94 years ago (1925)
FounderEdward Gaylord
Key people
Colin Reed (CEO)
RevenueIncrease US$747,723,000 (2007)
Decrease US$43,182,000 (2007)
Increase US$111,911,000 (2007)
Total assetsDecrease US$2,336,867,000 (2007)
Total equityIncrease US$941,492,000 (2007)
SubsidiariesGrand Ole Opry

Ryman Hospitality Properties, Inc. (NYSERHP) is a hotel, resort, entertainment, and media company named after National Historic Landmark the Ryman Auditorium, built as a tabernacle by Captain Thomas G. Ryman in 1892 and later the home of the Grand Ole Opry from 1943 to 1974; the hospitality group was founded by Edward Gaylord. Prior to its public ownership, it was previously a subsidiary of the Oklahoma City-based Oklahoma Publishing Company, which was formerly owned by the Gaylord family for 71 years until 2011; the OPUBCO company was once the longtime publisher of the Daily Oklahoman newspaper. Until 2012, the company was known as Gaylord Entertainment Company, and earlier as Gaylord Broadcasting Company. The company has operated as a real estate investment trust since October 1, 2012.


Corporate logo as Gaylord Entertainment Company, 2001–2012

Gaylord Entertainment came into existence after Edward Gaylord was persuaded by his wife, Thelma, to purchase the Opryland USA properties that had been put up for sale by the insurance company American General; the Gaylords took the Opryland businesses, merged them with Gaylord Broadcasting (their existing television station and syndicated program division) and created Opryland USA, Inc. Opryland USA, Inc. became the Gaylord Entertainment Company when the company went public on the New York Stock Exchange in the early 1990s. The company flourished as the leader in the "country lifestyle" business under the leadership of E.W. “Bud” Wendell until he retired in 1997.

The Opryland Lodging Group was formed with the opening of the 600 room Opryland Hotel (now named Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center) in November 1977. In addition to catering to guests from the Opryland USA Themepark and Grand Ole Opry, the hotel's first general manager, Jack Vaughn, sought to cater to conventions, a service that Nashville tourism had neglected until then; the hospitality group was a modest, but highly successful division of the Opryland USA properties of Gaylord Entertainment from the hotel's opening through the 1996 expansion of the hotel's almost 3,000 rooms and subsequent announcement of future Opryland Hotels in Florida, Texas and Washington, D.C..

In 1981, Gaylord purchased Yongestreet Productions, producer of the long-running television series Hee Haw from its creators Peppiatt and Aylesworth.[1] Gaylord continued to produce and distribute the show until it ended its run in 1997.

In 1997, in partnership with the newly-formed Nashville Predators (NHL) hockey team (which would begin play in 1998, and of which Gaylord Entertainment owned a minority share), the company purchased the naming rights to Nashville's new downtown arena, which became known as the Gaylord Entertainment Center; the agreement − originally signed for 20 years at a cost of $80 million − was canceled in 2005, but the name remained on the arena until 2007. Gaylord also divested its ownership share of the franchise.

New management in the early 2000s believed that Gaylord Entertainment's future lie solely in the management of the hospitality arm of the company. With the exception of the Grand Ole Opry, Ryman Auditorium, General Jackson Showboat, Wildhorse Saloon, and WSM radio in Nashville, all non-hotel businesses were abandoned or sold.

The hotels division was rebranded as "Gaylord Hotels" in 2000, with the company positioning it as a premium brand; the three previously-announced additional hotels were built. Three other hotels were planned for the areas of San Diego, Phoenix and Denver but were never built. Two other hotel properties were announced as acquisitions; however those were abandoned as well. Ten years after stating that the company's future was in the hospitality and convention business, the same management team reversed course, stating the company could not succeed in managing its hotels.

The company sold the Gaylord Hotels brand to Marriott International in the spring of 2012, completing its transition from a media conglomerate that once owned cable networks, theme parks, television and radio stations, restaurants, giant retail chains, newspapers, sports teams, Internet portals, record companies, as well as film, television, and animation studios into a simple real estate holding company; as a result of the sale, the company lost the rights to use the Gaylord name, resulting in the change to Ryman Hospitality Properties, Inc.

In the 1990s, Gaylord Entertainment was Tennessee's second largest private employer; as of 2015, Ryman Hospitality now employs fewer than 100 full-time workers.

Conversion to Real Estate[edit]

In May 2012, Marriott International agreed to purchase the Gaylord Hotels division and the rights to manage Gaylord's four hotels, the General Jackson Showboat, the Wildhorse Saloon, and Gaylord Springs Golf Links for $210 million in cash; the company changed its name from Gaylord Entertainment to Ryman Hospitality Properties when the deal was finalized in October.[2] According to Chairman and CEO Colin Reed, Ryman will continue to operate and manage the Grand Ole Opry, Ryman Auditorium and WSM radio for the time being, stating that they are "iconic" assets;[3] the conversion cost more than 300 corporate employees their jobs with the company. The purchase came just as the poison pill put forth by the board of directors expired, opening the company up for a hostile takeover.

Robert Rowling, the Texas billionaire who owns TRT Holdings, bought 14 percent of Gaylord stock in early 2008.[4] Later that year, Gaylord rejected Rowling's bid to increase TRT's stake to 30 percent, saying there would be no benefit to the company and also noting TRT's potential conflict of interest, since TRT owns the Omni Hotel chain, which competes with Gaylord for conference and convention business.[5] In management's effort to see the Marriott plan to succeed, the company paid $185 million on August 7, 2012 for almost half of the shares owned by billionaire Robert Rowling and launched an offering to help him dispose of his remaining 5.6 million shares. Rowling had previously opposed the Marriott purchase saying, "The company can go on a diet without having surgery. We would rather see Gaylord maintain the status quo and implement the savings without permanently impairing the value of the Gaylord Properties by encumbering them with the onerous, long term Marriott Agreement." Omni would go on to open its first Nashville hotel in September 2013, adjacent to the downtown Music City Center.


Facilities owned and operated by Ryman Hospitality Properties include:

Facilities owned by Ryman Hospitality Properties, but managed by Marriott International, include:

Previously owned properties and ventures include:

In 1999, Gaylord Entertainment purchased the naming rights to the major downtown arena in Nashville (home of the Nashville Predators); the agreement was terminated in 2005, but the Gaylord Entertainment Center name remained on the building until March 16, 2007. The facility is now known as Bridgestone Arena.

Gaylord Entertainment also produced the long-running comedy/variety series Hee Haw (initially out of the studios of WTVF in Nashville) and distributed the program over their television stations and in syndication. Ryman Hospitality Properties, through a holding company, continues to hold the rights to the Hee Haw trademark and series.

Broadcast properties[edit]

Ryman Hospitaity's only present broadcast property, as noted above, is WSM (650 AM) in Nashville, a heritage country music station with a 50,000-watt clear-channel signal. Oklahoma Publishing acquired WSM as part of its purchase of the Grand Ole Opry and associated businesses in 1983.[6]

Ryman, while it was a subsidiary of Oklahoma Publishing, owned several television and radio stations; the broadcasting subsidiary originated as the WKY Radiophone Company, named after its Oklahoma City flagship stations. In 1956 it became the WKY Television System, holding onto that moniker until 1975 when it took on the Gaylord Broadcasting Company name.[7] Below are charts of stations formerly owned by Ryman's predecessor companies.

Stations are arranged in alphabetical order by state and city of license.

Note: ** indicates a station built and/or signed-on by Oklahoma Publishing/Gaylord Broadcasting.


AM Station FM Station
City of license/Market Station Years owned Current ownership
Albuquerque KRKE 610 1974–1980 KNML, owned by Cumulus Media
KRKE-FM 94.1 1976–1980 KZRR, owned by iHeartMedia
Oklahoma City WKY 930 1928–2002 Owned by Cumulus Media
WKY-FM 98.9 1947–1952 defunct, went silent in 1952
frequency now used by KYIS
Portland, Oregon KYTE 970 1977–1983 KUFO, owned by Alpha Media
KYTE-FM/KLLB 101.1 1977–1983 KXL-FM, owned by Alpha Media
Nashville WSM-FM 95.5 1983–2003 Owned by Cumulus Media
WWTN 99.7 1995–2003 Owned by Cumulus Media


City of license / Market Station Channel
Years owned Current ownership status
MontgomerySelma, Alabama WSFA 12 (12) 1955–1959 NBC affiliate owned by Gray Television
Denver KLZ-TV ** 7 (7) 1953–1954 ABC affiliate, KMGH-TV, owned by E. W. Scripps Company
TampaSt. Petersburg WTVT 13 (12) 1956–1987 Fox owned-and-operated (O&O)
New Orleans WVUE 8 (28) 1977–1987 Fox affiliate owned by Gray Television
LorainCleveland WUAB 43 (10) 1977–1989 The CW affiliate owned by Gray Television
Oklahoma City WKY-TV ** 4 (27) 1949–1976 NBC affiliate, KFOR-TV, owned by Nexstar Media Group
Fort WorthDallas KTVT 11 (19) 1962–1999 CBS owned-and-operated (O&O)
Houston KHTV ** 39 (38) 1967–1995 The CW affiliate, KIAH, owned by Nexstar Media Group
TacomaSeattle KSTW 11 (11) 1974–1997 The CW affiliate owned by CBS Corporation
Milwaukee WVTV 18 (18) 1966–1996 The CW affiliate owned by Sinclair Broadcast Group


  1. ^ "Gaylord Production Acquires "Hee Haw'". Retrieved 2019-02-02.
  2. ^ "Marriott Completes Acquisition Of Gaylord Hotels Brand And Hotel Management Company". PRnewswire.com. October 1, 2012. Retrieved October 3, 2012.
  3. ^ De Lombaerde, Geert (September 25, 2012). "Reformed Gaylord REIT to take Ryman name". Nashville Post. Retrieved October 3, 2012.
  4. ^ [1],"Robert Rowling is the billionaire Dallas doesn't know", August 24, 2008, accessed August 29, 2010
  5. ^ [2]|"Gaylord rejects Omni owner's proposal", December 3, 2008, accessed August 29, 2010
  6. ^ "Opryland changes hands." Broadcasting, July 11, 1983, pg. 24[permanent dead link]
  7. ^ "By a new name." Broadcasting, July 7, 1975, pg. 30[permanent dead link]

External links[edit]