For decades, the NFL Draft was held in New York City on an annual basis. This made perfect sense, because the Draft is where the next generation of football elite reaches The Big Time, and nothing says The Big Time like the Big Apple.
But in 2015, the NFL pulled the Draft out of New York and put it back in Chicago — the last pre-NYC Draft, in 1964, was also in the Windy City — for 2015 and ’16. This made sense, because anyone who’s ever been to Chicago in late April will tell you it’s the best city in the world.
Then, in 2017, the NFL began moving the Draft around on an annual basis. First it was in Philadelphia, then Dallas, then Nashville, which drew 600,000 people and generated $133 million for the city.
This, too, makes sense. Once a complete afterthought even among those inside the league, the Draft is now the NFL’s biggest event outside of the Super Bowl, so it’s smart of the NFL to treat it like a Super Bowl. The personal preference here would be to turn the Draft into the Spring Super Bowl by parking it in cities that would never get a shot at hosting the Big Game, and so far the NFL has tracked something close to that.
The NFL announced the locations for the 2021 and ’23 drafts on Wednesday, which now sets this future rotation:
2020: Las Vegas
2023: Kansas City
The NFL will open a massive new Los Angeles headquarters for all its media operations in the summer of 2021, so the smart money is on Hollywood getting the 2022 draft. Assuming that’s the case, Vegas and LA are obviously much better vacation destinations than Cleveland and Kansas City… which is exactly why Cleveland and Kansas City will be way, way, way more excited to host their drafts than Vegas and whoever gets the ’22 draft.
As always, stay tuned to The Scoop for the latest.