NFL Draft May Never Be Indoors Again After Successful Kansas City Event: “It’s The NFL’s Coachella”

NFL Draft

The NFL Draft is a fan favorite event full of hope and has always drawn in masses of people to see who their favorite teams will choose to lead them into the future.

The event used to be held in New York every single year, but the format changed in 2014 and has since moved to different cities for each year’s draft. The results have been fairly positive, especially when the event was held in Nashville, Tennessee in 2019 and had over 600,000 fans in attendance (it also hilariously ruined a number of Bachelorette parties).

Las Vegas had a good showing last year as well, with around 300,000 fans filtering through “Sin City” for the draft. The event was set up as a “floating” stage in the fountain of the Bellagio and was the third time the NFL chose to hold the event outdoors (Philly was first, Nashville was second).

This most recent incarnation of the NFL Draft was held in Kansas City, Missouri in front of 312,000 fans and continued the outdoor draft style. Based on the attendance of the last two events, it looks like the NFL will aim to keep the draft in an outdoor, festival-like atmosphere.

The NFL Draft clearly has a high demand for attending in person, so why not expand the space and allow for more fans to attend? Naturally, the outdoor venue style will allow for more fans to visit and will allow for more destinations to be eligible for hosting.

ESPN’s Adam Shefter spoke about the importance of having the draft move around to different cities and what it can mean for smaller markets on The Adam Shefter Podcast, saying:

“Not only is the NFL moving cities, going to a different city every year, but I believe that we’ve seen the last of the indoor drafts. Because there are too many people that want to be there. They can’t stick it inside anywhere.

It’s got to be outside with hundreds of thousands of people.”

He likened the festival-like atmosphere to that of Coachella:

“It’s become the offseason Super Bowl, the NFL’s Coachella, where cities that wouldn’t be awarded a Super Bowl, like Green Bay, because there aren’t enough hotels and nobody wants to travel to Green Bay in February.

This has become the NFL’s answer to say, well we’re not going to give you the Super Bowl, but we are gonna give you this draft. And the cities, I believe, love that.”

With hundreds of thousands of people wanting to attend the live event, it only makes sense that outdoor venues would be favored as opposed to the traditional way of indoor drafts.

Nashville is clearly the outlier of them all in attendance, although since they host it downtown on Broadway, they probably get to lump regular Nashville tourists into their attendance number, but it evident that any time the draft has been held outdoors, attendance has gone up (Philadelphia, Nashville, Las Vegas, Kansas City).

Shefter continued on his podcast:

“We may see it in Green Bay in future years at some point, where they use Lambeau Field. That would actually be a little bit limiting.

I don’t know if you could open that up and make it such that there would be hundreds of thousands of people at Lambeau Field. But that’s where this is going.”

Next year’s NFL Draft heads to Detroit, and I think it’s safe to say that having it there won’t be ruining any bachelorette parties.

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock