The NFL has announced the "five finalist cities" to host the NFL Draft in either '19 or '20 -- Cleveland-Canton, Denver, K.C., Las Vegas and Nashville, according to Nick Kosmider of the DENVER POST. The final decision on the host cities for those years is "expected to come in May during the league's spring meeting in Atlanta." The Draft was held in N.Y. from '65-'14 before the NFL "branched out" in '15 and held the event in Chicago. It stayed there in '16 "before moving to Philadelphia" in '17. This year's Draft will be held at AT&T Stadium in Arlington. It is "not clear what venue Denver would use to host the draft if selected, though the city's convention center could be one option" (DENVER POST, 2/16). K.C. Sports Commission President Kathy Nelson said that her city's proposal "includes a main staging area in front of Union Station, with the site sprinkling into Washington Square Park, Crown Center and the lawn of the National World War I Museum." Nelson said, "Nothing has been finalized, but that's what we represented in our presentation. I think the league was surprised that Kansas City really does have a footprint this would work well in" (K.C. STAR, 2/16). In Nashville, Mike Organ notes the Draft is "held annually the same weekend that the St. Jude Rock n' Roll Nashville Marathon is scheduled." If Nashville landed the Draft, the date of the marathon "probably would need to change that year" (Nashville TENNESSEAN, 2/16). In Las Vegas, Akers & Brewer note the city "even being in contention to host the draft is significant for the city and Raiders ahead of the team's arrival" in '20. Raiders President Marc Badain said that they would "immediately get working on their pitch." Badain thinks Las Vegas has an "edge in comparison to other cities in contention because it is a notable visitor destination" (LAS VEGAS SUN, 2/16).
EXTRA SPECIAL CELEBRATION: In Canton, Todd Porter in a front-page piece notes the NFL will "celebrate its 100th season" in '19 and its centennial in '20. In a "perfect world," Canton-Cleveland would host the '19 Draft to kick off the '19 season and bookend that with the '20 centennial, which Pro Football HOF President & CEO David Baker "previously has said could include a regular-season NFL game" at Tom Benson HOF Stadium. Baker: "There is a part of me that believes the later we can have, the more we will have built of Johnson Controls Hall of Fame Village to accommodate this." He added that Draft week potentially would "start in Canton with a dinner" with HOFers involved. The first three rounds would be in Cleveland that Thursday and Friday, while rounds 4-7 on Saturday "could be in Canton, along with a fan festival." The Pro Football HOF, the Browns, Visit Canton and the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission "worked together to submit the bid, and Baker was complimentary of all partners" (Canton REPOSITORY, 2/16).