With the draft heading to Chicago in three months instead of Radio City Music Hall in New York City, there's a fair amount of preparation that goes into hosting such a big event. According to documents obtained by the Chicago Tribune and released in an article on Friday, the NFL decided to ask for some costly concessions, without being on the hook for those concessions.
Some of these concessions include, but are not limited to:
- Closing Congress Parkway between Michigan Avenue and Wabash Avenue, as well as other nearby stretches of road, for three weeks,
- Free parking and police escorts for potential draftees and NFL bigwigs,
- An outdoor NFL draft "village" featuring sponsorships, youth clinics, and three party spaces for NFL events
- NFL choice of renewal for 2016 for all venues, should they choose to remain in Chicago.
These concessions can be found in this letter sent to Choose Chicago (a non-profit organization assisting with putting on the event) back in August. The Tribune has the entire PDF.
A spokeswoman for the city has said that the NFL and Choose Chicago will be responsible for any costs.
"While the city does not yet have a copy of the final agreement, the NFL and Choose Chicago will be responsible for any costs associated with city services during the event, and no taxpayer dollars will be used to host it," city spokeswoman Shannon Breymaier said.
We probably shouldn't be too surprised that the league made these requests on the terms they did, especially as the city accepted them. If there's a league that can pull the "Hey, we want to host a huge event there, just kindly cater to our every whim and you'll make (us) boatloads of money" card, it's probably the NFL, especially when cities push to outdo each other for the rights to host the event. Not a bad gig if you can get it. Instead, it's a pretty good look at the details the NFL needs to plan to hold such a huge event, as well as what it takes to land that event.
Essentially, it comes down to how much money the city can get from the publicity surrounding the league's marquee offseason event, especially as it orients itself into a three-week festival, which expands the timeframe to get more people (and their money) into the city. With only a 3,900-seat auditorium for the draft itself (and the league picking up ticket revenue on that), the remainder of the event timeframe is necessary for the city.
The draft itself begins on April 30 and ends on May 2. The NFL plans to be in Chicago from April 19 through May 6.
Check out the full list of concessions the league requested. What are your thoughts?