It isn’t hyperbole to say that the NFL has the most popular draft of any major sport. It is a three-day process that dominates sports media for months leading up to and after. The event itself also garners a serious crowd as many who have watched on TV have seen.
The Cincinnati Bengals have put in a request to host the draft in either 2027, 2028, or 2029, according to WVXU News’ Nick Swartsell. This comes as the $200 million Convention Center District revamp is about to get underway downtown.
“With our world-class assets, we must think bigger,” CEO of Visit Cincinnati Julie Calvert told Swartsell. “Marquee large-scale events like March Madness and the NFL Draft can be quickly within our sights.”
It sounds like this could be the first of many calls from Cincinnati to host major events to make their project more worthwhile and easier to pay for itself. Clearly, the City is investing in creating an atmosphere to entertain large events, so the NFL Draft would be a perfect way to showcase that.
The draft was historically hosted in New York City for decades after the league became more popular. That tradition was broken in 2015 when the draft was held in Chicago for two years. In the past two seasons, we have seen it in Cleveland and Las Vegas. The next two cities will be Kansas City this year and Detroit in 2024.
The draft is a far easier call for Cincinnati to host compared to say a Super Bowl. Paycor Stadium would need quite an overhaul for that to be in the cards. The draft really requires a nice downtown area and convention center, which Cincinnati is working on having.