SBD/May 15, 2014/Leagues and Governing Bodies

Pro Football HOF President Eyes Canton As Possible NFL Draft Site

Canton could host the Draft in '19, coinciding with the NFL's 100th anniversary
Pro Football HOF President & Exec Dir David Baker confirmed this week that Canton, Ohio would “like to be included in the NFL’s future draft plans,” though he made it sound like Canton hosting the NFL Draft is “more a longer-range target than an immediate one,” according to Zac Jackson of FOX SPORTS OHIO. Baker “wouldn't say whether he thought Canton might fit in the NFL's immediate plans, but he pointed to the 100th anniversary of the NFL in 2019 as ‘special time’ for the league -- and a potential target for Canton to host.” Baker said, "We came (to Canton) for a purpose and that purpose is raising the bar here for the Hall of Fame even higher." Jackson noted the Canton Civic Center “hosted the expansion draft” for the Browns in ‘99. The Civic Center, which has a seating capacity of 5,000, got a “bit of a sprucing up in recent years” since the NBA D-League Canton Charge began playing home games there. The Civic Center now “seems the most viable option to hold the draft” (FOXSPORTSOHIO.com, 5/14). In Canton, Charita Goshay wrote the NFL considering moving the draft to different cities is “brilliant stroke of marketing and welcome news to fans in cities connected to teams.” Canton “no longer has an NFL team, of course, but it’s only right that we be in the running.” Canton “can’t possibly compete with other cities’ glamour, but we lack in glitter, we make up in Midwestern earnestness and sheer gratitude.” Canton is a “legitimate candidate because we practically put this city on hold every year to celebrate and enshrine those men who have been deemed worthy of sports immortality,” and because the accompanying festival “has been done so well for so long, people take it for granted” (CANTON REPOSITORY, 5/14).

COWBOY UP? SI.com’s Don Banks cited sources as saying that if and when the NFL decides to move the Draft out of N.Y., it will have “no shortage of suitors” as the number of cities interested in hosting the Draft “has grown to a whopping 11," outside of N.Y. The NFL will “discuss the site and date of the 2015 draft at its one-day spring owners' meeting next week in Atlanta, though no definitive decision on where and when that draft will be held is expected to come together that quickly.” Banks noted the league is “still waiting to hear the final spring schedule" of Radio City Music Hall, where the event has been held since ‘06, and “could have that information by the time the owners convene in Atlanta.” While the owners will be “consulted on how to proceed with the draft, it continues to look as if the NFL is leaning in the direction of taking the event on the road,” by ‘16 at the latest. Dallas has “emerged as a particularly interesting and attractive possibility,” with Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones offering AT&T Stadium "as a venue for the draft.” The “idea of attracting thousands of fans to the Cowboys' stadium for the draft is a very appealing one to the NFL” (SI.com, 5/14).
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