Say goodbye to Radio City Music Hall as host for next year’s NFL draft. Since 2006, Radio City has housed rabid fans, college prospects and NFL executives for the annual event.
But now the proverbial fat lady has sung and the draft’s eight year run at the famed venue has reached its end. Potential new locations for the upcoming 80th draft include New York City (although a different venue), Los Angeles and Chicago. However, other cities, including Arlington, TX and Boston are also making a push to be considered.
And why not? Moving the draft makes complete sense. Thirty-one other cities are home to NFL teams. It’s time for the league to share the wealth. The NBA recently moved its draft location and the NHL has a rotating schedule, so the move is not unprecedented in major sports.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is not afraid to shake things up either, as evidenced in his proposals for an 18-game regular season and even an overseas franchise. Goodell has also taken heat for pushing the 2014 draft back from its usual slot during the last week of April to the second weekend of May. Those two weeks, many argued, limited rookies’ preparation as they adjust to their new team’s playbook.
Even though the final date of the 2015 draft has yet to be set, the league has asked its potential hosts for availability around April 22-25 or April 29-May 2. With these possible sets of dates, it looks like Goodell might even have plans to expand the draft to four days. The league scored big during the 2014 draft with massive ratings, even when it was up against both the NHL and NBA playoffs. Goodell and the NFL are most likely looking to capitalize on that aspect and explore every option to ensure the draft’s success.
So which city does make the most sense for hosting the draft? Los Angeles, home to celebrity sports fans and Hollywood agents?
Chicago, with its midwest, blue-collar appeal?
Or New York, the old tried and true?
Maybe it’s one of the wildcard cities? Dallas Cowboys Executive Vice President Stephen Jones voiced his interest in holding the event in Arlington’s AT&T Stadium:
"I think it's something that the league is seriously taking a look at" said Jones.
"They've actually looked at making it multi-locational in terms of doing a day in New York and a day in another city, something like that. There's a lot of things being discussed."
Patriots’ owner Robert Kraft, along with Boston mayor Marty Walsh have also expressed interest in holding the draft in Beantown:
“Boston has the resources and the infrastructure to host the draft here, and we would welcome the opportunity," said Walsh.
As Kraft says, “it’s all under exploration now.” For now, we’ll just have to wait for the league to make a decision, expected sometime this summer.