SBD/May 8, 2014/Leagues and Governing Bodies

Goodell: NFL Considering Moving Draft Site To Different Cities As Early As Next Year

Typically 3,500 fans and at least 1,000 media types attend the NFL Draft
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell yesterday said that officials from several cities "have spoken to him about moving the draft" and he would not "rule out changing venues, perhaps as early as next year," according to Bob Glauber of NEWSDAY. Goodell: "We want to share the draft experience with as many communities as possible. There's been a lot of interest in Chicago and Los Angeles -- and other markets by the way -- from the mayor on down." He said that the league "wouldn't immediately have a formal bidding process for hosting the draft." Instead, it "would be a decision made at the league level" -- at least for now. Goodell: "We will probably hand pick our solution for next year. At some point we may get to that stage (of bids). But we want to balance the experience we've had here at Radio City." Goodell "wouldn't rule out keeping the draft at Radio City, and it's possible the event could be held in New York and another location in the same year." Radio City "might host the event the first day or two, and then the draft could move to another city for additional rounds." The NFL is "anxious to examine the television ratings, since this year's draft will be held in the critical May ratings period" (NEWSDAY, 5/8). NFL Senior VP/Communications Greg Aiello last night tweeted, "We're close to a dozen cities and counting that have expressed interest in hosting the Draft. Some contacted our office today" (TWITTER.com, 5/7). Goodell said "two [of the] most aggressive" are Chicago and L.A., "but we've heard from a few other mayors." NFL Network's Rich Eisen asked if the draft format would be expanded beyond the current three days if the event moved to a different market. Goodell replied, jokingly, "What's wrong with seven rounds in seven nights? Goodell: "It's probably a three or four-day draft, and seven rounds in that time period" ("The Rich Eisen Draft Special," NFL Network, 5/6).

BETWEEN A ROCKETTE & A HARD PLACE: In N.Y., Bart Hubbuch cites a source as saying that the NFL is "in deep discussions about moving the draft -- either half of it or the entire thing -- to one of eight cities that have expressed interest." The source said that the cities "are New Orleans, Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago, Los Angeles, Orlando, Arlington, Texas, and Canton, Ohio," home of the Pro Football HOF. The source said that the NFL is "open to moving the draft because it is exasperated by the unwillingness of the owners of Radio City -- James Dolan’s Cablevision -- to say whether a planned Rockettes spring show is still a go" for '15 (N.Y. POST, 5/8). The MMQB's Peter King said he is fine with moving the draft around the country, because "why should it always be in New York?" King: "It would take the NFL out of its sort of insular New York cocoon and give other fan groups a chance to experience it" ("The Dan Patrick Show," 5/6).

HOSTS WITH THE MOST: In Boston, Gayle Fee notes Mayor Marty Walsh "rang up" Goodell and "made a play to be the new host of the annual pigskin beauty pageant." Walsh in a statement said, "As a Patriots season ticket holder, I’d love to host the NFL draft in Boston. We have the resources and infrastructure to do it -- the hotels, convention space, the tourism amenities -- and we would welcome the opportunity." NFL VP/Communications Brian McCarthy said that Walsh and Goodell "discussed what venues in the city might be available to host the draft -- which typically draws some 3,500 fans and at least 1,000 media types" (BOSTON HERALD, 5/8). Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said that he is "dead-serious" about bringing the draft to the city. Emanuel: "You know my goal: 55 million visitors and tourists in Chicago. Moving Chicago from fifth-place to second place in the convention industry" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 5/8). Saints Exec VP & GM Mickey Loomis: "I don't necessarily have an opinion (on moving the draft). That's not going to change what I do. We're going to be here. If it's good for the league and brings positive attention and gives another city a chance to host, I don't think there's anything wrong with that. I'm for it" (NOLA.com, 5/7).
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