NEW YORK — More than a dozen cities are interested in hosting the NFL draft in 2015 draft, and the league hopes to choose a site this summer.
New York, Los Angeles and Chicago were invited this week to make presentations for next spring’s draft. But the league stresses that no finalists have been selected and many other cities are in the running.
The draft drew record TV ratings last month. It has been held in New York since 1965, with Radio City Music Hall the venue since 2006. But the Music Hall was not available for the usual late April dates this year and the draft was pushed back to May 8-10.
For the 2015 draft, the NFL is seeking proposals for April 22-25 or April 29-May 2.
The NFL originally was less than happy that Radio City could not be used in April, although the two-week move into May seemed beneficial as interest ramped up. The theatre, owned by Madison Square Garden, will not be available next year, either, but the Garden has a smaller venue, one that previously has held the draft.
Or, considering its skyrocketing popularity, the draft could wind up in the main arena if it stays in New York.
The league this week sent letters to organizations that work on behalf of hosting events in Chicago, Los Angeles and New York, asking for information. Among the factors the league will consider are:
–availability of the proposed venue or venues for April 22-25 and April 29-May 2.
–number of fans the venues could hold for the draft and related events.
–ability to host a fan festival in an adjacent indoor or outdoor space.
–hotel availability for fans, team and league staff, incoming draft prospects and their families.
Among the other cities that have shown interest in the draft are Boston, Cleveland, Green Bay, Houston, Nashville, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Seattle. Also, Canton, Ohio, the site of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Commissioner Roger Goodell several times has suggested the draft could be expanded to four days and moved around the country.
“We’re looking at ways to make the draft more exciting for our fans,” Goodell said. “We are looking at a lot of options, perhaps expand the number of days or moving it around.”