CLEVELAND — The 2021 NFL Draft that was held in Cleveland from April 29 to May 1 brought in $42 million to Northeast Ohio, according to the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission.
David Gilbert, president and CEO of the GCSC, said even though Cleveland hosted a draft at a time when the pandemic limited capacity, the event showcased the city to the world.
“Hosting the 2021 NFL Draft was a proud moment for our determined Cleveland community especially with it being one of the first major events to allow spectators in a safe manner since the pandemic began,” said Gilbert “Although the economic impact wasn’t comparable to previous host cities due to limited capacities, the event extended far beyond the dollars and showcased our city to the world.”
The NFL Draft had an economic impact in Philadelphia four years ago of $95 million, $125 million in Dallas the next year and in Nashville an incredible $224 million. Unfortunately for Cleveland, the draft came during the pandemic and was the first major national event to be held after vaccinations became available for many adults.
The draft was watched by 40.1 million viewers worldwide and attended by 160,000 fans over a three-day period.
The $42 million economic impact was calculated using Destination International's Events Impact Calculator, which is considered an industry standard measurement value of an event.
"Not only did hosting the NFL Draft aide in changing the narrative of Cleveland, but it provided measurable impact through tree planting, community garden builds and a football field refurbishment at a local high school,” said Gilbert. “While we may not have seen the attendance numbers of other host cities due to limited capacity, we continue to look at what we did gain – in short, hosting the Draft was an incredible win compared to what our community went through a year ago.”
The economic report sent out by GCSC did not include the costs associated with hosting the NFL Draft.
Several events were held during the week of the draft. Fourteen NFL community events were held throughout Northeast Ohio. These included a groundbreaking ceremony at Shaw High School, over 6,000 trees were planted and 3,000 meals were distributed to those in need.
“We are extremely grateful for everyone’s efforts to create an exceptional experience for Browns and NFL fans in Cleveland and across the globe throughout the 2021 NFL Draft,” said Haslam Sports Group Chief Operating Officer Dave Jenkins in a news release. “Our partnership with the NFL and local Northeast Ohio organizations, including the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission, successfully collaborated to overcome many challenges outside of our control to host an event that showcased our great region on an international stage. We are proud to continue our work with the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission and commend them for their ongoing commitment to bring major sporting events to our city, along with community-focused programming. We’d be delighted to help host another NFL Draft in the future.”
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