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Backed by Big Numbers, the NFL Draft Moves to City of Brotherly Love

21 Sep, 2016

By: Mary Helen Sprecher

Kind of like football itself, the NFL draft has moved in stops and starts. According to an article in New York Sports Journalism, the event, which just spent two years in Chicago, is on the move once again. The The 82nd NFL Draft, scheduled to be held April 27-29, 2017, will take place along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney have revealed.

“Along the Parkway?,” you’re asking. Sure. The event will incorporate city landmarks spanning from Philadelphia City Hall to the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

That's a big amount of land to cover but make no mistake, the Draft is a big fish for any city to land. Want to know how big? Take a look at the numbers it posts. Some of these figures came from the NYSJ article; others are attributed to their respective sources.

  • 200,000: Number of fans expected in Philly.
  • $80 million: Estimated economic impact on the host city.
  • 8.3 million: Number of fans who viewed Round 1 of the 2015 NFL Draft, broadcast live on ESPN and NFL Network.
  • 1,700-plus: Number of media members who were accredited to cover the 2016 NFL Draft in Chicago and related events (according to the NFL)
  • 4.6 million: Number of tweets sent about the draft (according to Crain’s). As an aside, only five sporting events created a bigger buzz on Twitter in the United States, three of which were 2014 FIFA World Cup games. The other two were the 2015 Super Bowl and the May 2 boxing match between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao.
  • 1.37 terabytes: Amount of cellular data consumed by Verizon users at Draft Town and the Auditorium Theater during the event. (Crain’s)
  • $12 million: Amount New York-based research firm Kantar Media said brands spent on advertising during the draft broadcasts (Crain’s)
  • 2,095: Number of temporary construction and labor jobs created in Chicago by the Draft, according to the blog, Billy Penn.
  • 846: New jobs created as a result of the Draft (Billy Penn)
  • $114.7 million: Estimated value of TV and digital advertising from the Draft in Chicago (Billy Penn)
  • $650-plus: Volunteers who worked over 1,300 shifts in three days, according to Choose Chicago
  • 1,000-plus: Students from Chicago public schools who attended (Choose Chicago)
  • 36,576: Number of room nights generated (Choose Chicago)
  • $456,000: Amount generated in city hotel tax (Choose Chicago)
  • $6.5 million: Total generated in state and local taxes (Choose Chicago)
  • $0: Taxpayer dollars spent (Billy Penn)

Those are some impressive figures, but consider this: the event has been on the grow, with organizers and host cities working to squeeze all the tourism and economic opportunities they can out of this event.

With its move to Chicago in 2015, the NFL also upped the ante on surrounding events and activities, expanding the event to three-plus days. The 2017 event could grow to a week, meaning even bigger numbers than the ones shown above. And the show-biz aspect will be very much in evidence throughout, to fan the flame of the Draft. Expect prospects to walk the red carpet into events, for example.

The 2016 NFL Draft included Selection Square driven by Hyundai and Draft Town presented by Oikos Triple Zero located in Grant Park, over three days, complete with interactive exhibits, autograph sessions with current and former players, photo opps with the Vince Lombardi Trophy league sponsor booths. More than 225,000 fans attended, up from 200,000 the previous year in the city, according to the league.

But just in case you think it’s all about the income, consider this rather sobering number:

$350,000: Cost of Chicago’s city services involved with hosting the draft (according to the Chicago Tribune, this amount was expected to be reimbursed by Choose Chicago by the end of the year); costs included $24,870.77 to the Department of Streets and Sanitation, $47,445.74 in fire overtime and $142,934.68 in police overtime as well as $135,911.20 for Office of Emergency Management costs.

Much like its early days, the Draft could be on the move again in coming seasons, as such cities as Los Angeles, Houston, Detroit and Green Bay have expressed interest in hosting the event.

From 1936-1964, the Draft was held in seven different cities — including Milwaukee, Pittsburgh, Los Angeles and Washington DC, in addition to Philadelphia, New York and Chicago — before settling in for a nine-year run in Radio City Music Hall.

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