By Michael Donovan
The results on the 2017 NFL draft on Philly’s Ben Franklin Parkway are in, and as usual the dumb-asses in the local media like Philly mag have been proven wrong.
The economic impact was almost $95 million for Philly’s hotels, bars, restaurants, hot dog vendors, T-shirt makers and the like.
According to a report commissioned by Philly’s Convention and Visitors Bureau and conducted by Temple University’s Sport Industry Research Center, direct spending during the three-day event in April was $56.1 million.
Temple’s survey showed the draft attracted attendees from 42 states. Proceedings were held at the city’s iconic Art Museum, with the Rocky statue at the top of its steps, and drew a record 250,000 attendees.
“When we chose to pursue the draft, we did so with the goal of an economic win for our city and region,” says Julie Coker Graham, PHLCVB President and CEO. “We are thrilled that not only did it generate substantial economic activity for Philadelphia, but we were also successful in showing the world that this city is a premier destination for sports, big events and tourism in general.”
“Philadelphia was a great partner and the Eagles were with us from the beginning,” says Peter O’Reilly, the league’s senior vice president of events.
“We were able to create a footprint right in the heart of the city. We didn’t have the separate theater and fan festival, we brought it all together as one and in an iconic setting, and allowing so many people to feel connected to this draft.
“Obviously Chicago set the bar for the new draft model and Philadelphia took it to another level in terms of the energy and the site and connection to the crowd.
“We have that option to return to Philly, and they did help us create an extraordinary event,” he says. “We’ll be announcing a site sometime in the fall. One of the reasons we’re being methodical is we learned a lot from Philadelphia this year, and other cities are learning about how they might best showcase their city, tied to a draft. It has piqued or sparked people in cities with ideas around how you can do something.”
After 93 percent of visitors surveyed cited the draft as their primary reason for visiting Philly, 79 percent said they would recommend Philadelphia as a travel destination, and 62 percent intended to return to Philadelphia for a vacation within the next 12 months.
More than 30,000 jobs (914 full-time equivalent positions) were supported by the draft, which helped generate $38.5 million in personal income, $7.9 million in state and local taxes.
“The draft,” O’Reilly says, “now stands as one of the major events on the sports calendar.”