Rock & Roll: Cleveland Optimistic About Hosting NFL Draft In '21
The Browns and the city of Cleveland are "optimistic about hosting the NFL Draft" in '21 or beyond, according to Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland PLAIN DEALER. The NFL will "announce future draft sites at its Spring Meetings" today in Key Biscayne, Fla., and the Browns and Greater Cleveland Sports Commission are "expecting good news for the region." Cleveland was a "finalist to host the draft" in '19 or '20, and the Browns and GCSC were "so close to winning a bid for both of those years, they're confident they're on the clock." The original proposal included the Pro Football HOF and the city of Canton, but the "current one is just the Browns and the GCSC, and all three days of the draft would be held throughout Downtown Cleveland" (Cleveland PLAIN DEALER, 5/22).
RAISED THE BAR: THE ATHLETIC's Lindsay Jones wrote to "expect the show Nashville put on last month to be a factor when the league looks at bids" for future Draft sites. What Nashville "did so well that other cities will need to replicate is providing a navigable urban setting, with extensive room for the league to build the draft stage, multiple television sets and accessible areas for the red carpet and press conferences, in addition to family-friendly." If Cleveland were to host the Draft it would "receive ridiculous fan support, with the NFL tapping into the AFC North-NFC North fan bases within a reasonable driving distance as well as legions of college football fans from Big Ten country" (THEATHLETIC.com, 5/21).
MOTOR CITY: In Detroit, Dave Birkett noted the Lions are "gearing up for another bid to host" the NFL Draft after "observing and learning" from Nashville. Lions President Rod Wood said, "What we learned is we need to do something, if we’re going to do it here, that’s really iconically Detroit.” Wood said that he has a "'few ideas' on how to make the draft uniquely Detroit, and reiterated a broad plan to have the event at different places throughout the city." He added, "You can’t do what they did in Nashville, but there’s things that we might be able to do that would be in that vein and have the whole downtown showcased.” Detroit "made a run" at hosting the '19-20 Drafts, but "lost out in part due to scheduling conflicts" (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 5/20). YAHOO SPORTS' Eric Edholm noted Denver, K.C. and Cleveland/Canton all "made the final round of bidding ahead of Detroit" for '19-20. But the fact that Detroit has "hosted Super Bowls, college bowl games and NCAA championship events bodes well." There is also a "sense that the growth of the downtown area following a economic recession has done enough to provide a lively and safe backdrop for a major event such as the draft" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 5/20).
TO BID, OR NOT TO BID? In Green Bay, Richard Ryman in a front-page piece notes the Packers will "decide soon whether to try" to host the '22 NFL Draft or a later year. There is apparently "no bid for the '22 Draft taking place, but that "doesn't rule out the league awarding that as well." The Packers could still choose to bid for '24 or later, instead of '22, but the team "notified the NFL it is interested in hosting, the first step in the process" (GREEN BAY PRESS GAZETTE, 5/22).