Wednesday, August 12, 2015

NFL Draft Headed Back to Grant Park in 2016

Looks like the NFL draft will be coming back in 2016 (via Chicago Tribune):

"We're coming back to Chicago for the draft in 2016," Goodell said. "They've earned it. The success we had last year set a new bar for the draft, it set a new opportunity for fans to interact with the NFL. It had a tremendous impact on this community."
The league announced last month that the 2016 draft would be conducted April 28-30 but didn't name the location at that time.
Goodell said Chicago, which played host for the first time in more than 50 years, did an extraordinary job, but the league expects the city to promote the event's continued growth in 2016. That may include a larger footprint and similar accommodations by the city, which provided several venues this year at no cost. The league also said the event will be up for competitive bidding beginning in 2017.

Some 200,000 visitors attended the free fan festival, which transformed Grant Park into "Draft Town" from April 30 to May 2. A study by the Sport Industry Research Center at Temple University released last month pegged direct economic impact to Chicago at nearly $44 million, including hotel revenue, dining, sales tax revenue and temporary jobs.
It's clear that the city feels like these big events are a boon for the local economy and Chicago's national profile.  While the direct financial impact can be questioned, it sure seems like this is the new norm - for better or worse.

Personally, we like the spectacle of a big event.  Just not every weekend!

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