In 2015, the National Football League decided to move its draft — which had become increasingly popular with fans — from New York City to other NFL cities. Chicago was the first stop, and the draft was held at Auditorium Theatre and Grant Park in 2015 and 2016.
This year, the league chose Philadelphia (home of the first-ever NFL Draft in 1936) to host its festivities on Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Selection Square, where team representatives called in their draft picks, was housed in the Franklin Institute in a space shared with a giant Benjamin Franklin statue. And the main stage where NFL Commissioner Rodger Goodell announced each team’s picks was built on the steps of the Philadelphia Art Museum — the same steps Rocky Balboa ran in Rocky. Held from April 27-29, this year’s open-air NFL Draft and fan festival was the largest ever, NFL officials say.
Sports Destination Management was there, as Philadelphia — which also hosted Pope Francis in September 2015 and the Democratic National Convention in July 2016 — threw its third epic party in 18 months. And we came back with some pretty impressive numbers.
5: Ranking of Philadelphia on the list of largest cities in the United States
2: Ranking of Philadelphia on the list of most populous downtowns in the United States
3: Length, in days, of the NFL Draft
80: Economic impact, in millions of dollars, the NFL Draft was estimated to generate for Philadelphia
100,000: Estimated number of people who attended the NFL Draft and NFL Draft Experience fan festival on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway on April 27
247,000: Number of fans who signed up for the free Fan Mobile Pass app on or before April 27
1936: The year of the first NFL Draft, held at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Philadelphia
11: Number of times the NFL Draft has been held in Philadelphia, including 2017
9: Number of NFL teams located in cities within a day’s drive of Philadelphia
41: Number of years ago that Sylvester Stallone’s “Rocky Balboa” character ascended the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art in the film Rocky — the same stairs first-round draft picks descended when their name was called.
25: Number of football fields the NFL Draft Theatre and NFL Draft Experience occupied in Philadelphia
20: Number of football fields they occupied in Chicago for the 2015 and 2016 NFL Drafts
45: Length of time, in minutes, local media outlets reported that fans stood in line to pose for a photo with a Vince Lombardi Trophy replica
220, 70: Measurements, in feet, of the width and height (respectively) of the stage on which the NFL Draft was held
3,000: Number of seats on the floor, mezzanine and balcony levels of the open-air theater built on the stage
23: Number of days it took NFL crews to construct the NFL Draft Theater and build the NFL Draft Experience, which included giant team helmets, NFL Play 60 Zone kids’ activities, a Virtual Reality Station, Combine Corner, replica lockers of popular players, a museum, zip lines, autograph sessions with current and former NFL players, giant video screens, food, beer and more
7: Number of days estimated to tear down the NFL Draft Theater and NFL Draft Experience
40: Number of brands represented at the NFL Draft Experience
30: Number of Philadelphia-based restaurants and vendors on the NFL Draft Experience site
21: Number of NFL Draft prospects on site and ready to take the stage if their names were called during the first round
5,000: Number of credentials issued to workers and volunteers (including many from sports management programs at colleges and universities in the area)
1,700: Number of registered members of the media covering the NFL Draft
26,000: Estimated number of construction, transportation and hospitality jobs positively impacted by the NFL Draft
35,000: Estimated number of hotel room nights generated by the NFL Draft
16: Number of local artists commissioned by the NFL through Mural Arts Philadelphia to each paint portraits of two first-round draft picks live on the NFL Draft Experience grounds
1,500: Amount, in dollars, each of those artists received
16: Number of NFL teams that sent delegations to Philadelphia to observe how the city performed during the NFL Draft.
5: Number of NFL Draft first-round “watch parties” held at XFINITY Live!, a dining and entertainment center located in the same complex as Lincoln Financial Field, home of the Philadelphia Eagles
32: Size, in feet, of the main television screen at XFINITY Live! — the largest on the East Coast in a non-stadium venue
27,000: Size, in square feet, of the “Our City, Our Team” mural located on a street adjacent to Lincoln Financial Field depicting the full experience of attending an Eagles game
30: Number of sports-related events that took place in Philadelphia in 2016
180: Total economic impact, in millions of dollars, of those sports-related events