NFL Reportedly Done With Indoor Drafts, Wants Massive Festival-Like Crowds At Event

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The success of the 2019 NFL Draft in Nashville left the league trying to recreate that incredible scene. Over 600,000 people attended the event and most people agree it was the best NFL Draft of all-time. At least from the atmosphere standpoint.

The NFL previously conducted its draft in New York City every year. However, starting in 2014, the league began moving the event to a new city each year. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, that helped the league manage relationships with cities that can’t host a Super Bowl.

“It’s become the offseason Super Bowl – the NFL’s Coachella – where cities that wouldn’t be awarded a Super Bowl, like Green Bay, because there aren’t enough hotels and nobody wants to travel to Green Bay in February,” Schefter said on his podcast according to Barrett Sports Media.

“This has become the NFL’s answer to say, well we’re not going to give you the Super Bowl, but we are gonna give you this draft. And the cities, I believe, love that.”

Kansas City Chiefs fans fill the Draft Theatre during the third day of the NFL Draft on April 29, 2023 at Union Station in Kansas City, MO.
Kansas City Chiefs fans fill the Draft Theatre during the third day of the NFL Draft on April 29, 2023 at Union Station in Kansas City, MO. (Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Of course the cities love it, but as I’ve written previously, the players sure don’t. Only 17 players attended this year’s NFL Draft in Kansas City, one of the lowest numbers ever.

But the league cares much less about its players and much more about its fans. After all, why make 20-30 players happy when you can make hundreds of thousands of fans happy?

Clearly, the Nashville draft trumps all. Plus, it’s a city that players likely want to go to. It’s really a win-win for everyone. And the NFL only wants to do outdoor drafts moving forward because it represents their version of a music festival.

“Not only is the NFL moving cities, going to a different city every year, but I believe that we’ve seen the last – for the foreseeable future – of the indoor drafts,” Schefter said. “Because there are too many people that want to be there! They can’t stick it inside anywhere. It’s got to be outside with hundreds of thousands of people.”

Next year, the NFL Draft heads to Detroit. Without much else to look forward to, Detroit fans are going to pack the area. Of course, don’t expect many players to go.

As mentioned, though, the NFL Draft is now about the fans. The Nashville draft set the bar for what the event can truly be.

Detroit certainly isn’t going to come close to Nashville, but it will be interesting to see what cities the NFL selects in the future.

Sounds like the bidding for the event could be similar to a Super Bowl.


Follow Dan Zaksheske on Twitter: @RealDanZak

Written by Dan Zaksheske

Dan began his sports media career at ESPN, where he survived for nearly a decade. Once the Stockholm Syndrome cleared, he made his way to Outkick. He is secure enough in his masculinity to admit he is a cat-enthusiast with three cats, one of which is named “Brady” because his wife wishes she were married to Tom instead of him.

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