CLEVELAND — The announcement Monday that the NFL was committing to a large, outdoor, NFL Draft was welcome news to the city of Cleveland.
"It's sort of the coming out party, that's the way we're looking at it,” said Mike Mulhall, Vice President of Business Development for the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission.
"You know our hospitality community has really been devastated through the pandemic and to be able to welcome you know literally tens of thousands of visitors into our community you just can't say enough about what that can mean to them."
Consider this: 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, one of three records they set, including an attendance record of 600,000 over three days with 54% coming from out of town staying an average of 2.8 hotel nights.
“I think a lot people were just kind of waiting to see what the event was going to look like,” Mulhall said. “I will tell you just having the NFL, staff and the networks and things like that, the contractors that work the event it's thousands of room nights before one fan chooses to come to Cleveland.”
A check of downtown availability for the first two nights of the draft shows rooms available in the $300-$400 a night range, which will likely soon be accounted for with Monday's announcement.
"Look, it's not going to look like Nashville did,” Mulhall said. “But basically all of the research we're seeing is that people are becoming more and more comfortable with traveling and so we do expect to have a large influx of people, especially you know, we're a great drive market from many NFL cities and so we expect the Buffalos and the Pittsburghs, the Cincinnatis and Detroits and Indys, and those communities to make that pilgrimage here and attend the draft and go to the Pro Football Hall of Fame and make it a good week."
“We don't know today how many people will really be allowed within the NFL Draft experience; we're working daily with the CDC and state and local officials," Mulhall said. "Look, we want a capacity as big as we can make it, but obviously doing it in a safe manner, so that's really what we're monitoring.”
Ticketing details will be released likely next week on the NFL’s One Pass app, information on which can be found at NFL.com/draft