By Annie Ross
The NFL Draft came to Chicago last year after 50 years in New York City, but it could be headed for a new home in 2017.
And NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said Friday during an informal meeting withAssociated Press Sports Editors that it’s “very likely” the draft will move on from the Windy City after this year.
But the big question is: Why hasn’t Philly been lobbying for the 2017 draft, or is this something that is beyond the scope of Mayor Jim Kenney and Eagles trust-fund owner Jeffrey Lurie?
When the NFL decided to move on from New York City, the intention was to make the draft into a more fan-friendly event, with a venue change giving the league a chance to re-imagine what the draft could be.
The NFL created a Draft Town in Grant Park in Chicago, just across from the Auditorium Theatre (where the draft is held) in order to allow more fans to experience the excitement of the draft.
“We really didn’t know what to expect,” Goodell said. “We were very pleased (with Chicago).”
While the league doesn’t have a formal bidding process for a city to host the draft, Goodell says competition for the event has stepped up dramatically and a site for the 2017 draft will likely be announced in July.
According to the Chicago Sun Times, Canton, Ohio — home of the Pro Football Hall of Fame — and Denver are among the cities that have publicly expressed interest in hosting the draft along with Chicago, which expects it to return in the future.
“I think the draft will be back in Chicago,” said Kara Bachman, the executive director of the Chicago Sports Commission via the Times. “I don’t know for ’17, but it will certainly be back.”