By Barry Janoff
September 1, 2016: The NFL Draft, a long-time staple in New York before moving to Chicago in 2015, is on the move again.
The 82nd NFL Draft is scheduled to be held April 27-29, 2017 along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney revealed today.
The even will incorporate city landmarks spanning from Philadelphia City Hall to the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. It is expected to attract 200,000 fans and have more than $80 million in economic impact on the city.
The move is actually a return to Philadelphia, which hosted the first draft in 1936, then again in 1949-50, 1956-57 and 1958-61, according to the NFL.
The Draft was held in Chicago's Auditorium Theatre at Roosevelt University the past two seasons following a run in New York from 1965-2014, the last nine years in Radio City Music Hall.
“Philadelphia is a passionate football town and will serve as a tremendous backdrop for the Draft and provide a great atmosphere for our fans and incoming players,” Goodell said in a statement. “Jeffrey Laurie (majority owner for the Philadelphia Eagles) has been a strong advocate and supporter of the draft on behalf of the City of Philadelphia throughout the entire selection process.
"We look forward to working with the Philadelphia Eagles, the City of Philadelphia and the Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau (PHLCVB) to create a week-long celebration of football for our fans," said Goodell.
The Draft will again take place during prime time (ESPN and NFL Network) for Rounds 1-3.
Round 1 is scheduled for Thursday, April 27. Rounds 2-3 will be held on Friday, April 28.
The Draft will conclude on Saturday, April 29 with Rounds 4-7, per the NFL.
Although plans are still being finalized, the league said that Round 1 events would include incoming prospects walking the red carpet before entering an outdoor theater.
Then, 32 former players who are members of the NFL Legends Community, one representing each team, would be on hand for the second night to announce selections.
In addition, the second night will feature winners of the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award presented by Nationwide.
“We are truly excited to serve as the host city for the NFL Draft, one of the country’s largest and most prestigious sports events,” said PHLCVB President & CEO Julie Coker Graham. “We anticipate that the Draft will attract more than 200,000 football fans from across the country, which we at the PHLCVB estimate will lead to over $80 million in economic impact for our city and a huge win for all of our hospitality partners.”
Much like its early days, the Draft could be on the move again in coming seasons, as such cities as Los Angeles, Houston, Detroit and Green Bay have expressed interest in hosting the event.
From 1936-1964, the Draft was held in seven different cities — including Milwaukee, Pittsburgh, Los Angeles and Washington DC, in addition to Philadelphia, New York and Chicago — before settling in for its long run in New York.
With its move to Chicago in 2015, the NFL also upped the ante on surrounding events and activities, expanding the event to three-plus days. The 2017 event could grow to a week.
The 2016 NFL Draft included Selection Square driven by Hyundai and Draft Town presented by Oikos Triple Zero located in Grant Park, over three days, complete with interactive exhibits, autograph sessions with current and former players, photo ops with the Vince Lombardi Trophy league sponsor booths. More than 225,000 fans attended, up from 200,000 the previous year in the city, according to the league.
“We anticipate the Draft will attract more than 200,000 football fans, which we estimate will lead to over $80 million in economic impact for our city."
Round 1 of the 2015 NFL Draft, broadcast live on ESPN and NFL Network, was viewed by 8.3 million fans. More than 1,700 media were accredited to cover the 2016 NFL Draft in Chicago and related events, according to the NFL.
“The NFL Draft will be awesome for our city and a real gift for the fans of Philadelphia,” Ron Jaworski, former Eagles quarterback and co-chair for the Philadelphia NFL Draft Host Committee, said in a statement. “The NFL will put on an incredible show, and I’m thrilled to work with my co-chair, Ira Lubert, and the entire business community to ensure the Draft is a huge success in Philadelphia.”
The 2017 Draft is expected to include many of the destinations along The Benjamin Franklin Parkway such as the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Rodin Museum, the Barnes Foundation, the Franklin Institute, the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul and City Hall.
“On behalf of the City and our legion of Philadelphia Eagles fans, we’re proud to be chosen as host city for the 2017 NFL Draft,” said Kenney. “We are excited to showcase Philadelphia and our passion for football, and fully expect an awesome experience for all those attending in 2017 and for those watching at home. I’m thankful for the incredible team at the NFL and the Philadelphia CVB for making this happen.”
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