Just last week, Detroit Lions team president Rod Wood sounded optimistic about bringing the NFL Draft to the city of Detroit. Having sent down a team to Nashville to see how they ran the 2019 NFL Draft—which produced record attendance and TV ratings—Wood said the team was in the running for future drafts.
“I’m excited that we’re going to get an opportunity to bring one here,” Wood said.
Unfortunately, it looks like Detroit has missed out on the first round of bidding. On Wednesday, the NFL announced the locations of the 2021 and 2023 drafts.
NFL awards 2021, 2023 drafts to Cleveland, Kansas City.https://t.co/k2eMaR3nCr pic.twitter.com/05oTInaI6G— NFL Draft (@NFLDraft) May 22, 2019
That’s obviously a small blow to Detroit, who has been trying to book the NFL Draft gig for a few years now, but it does provide a little bit of optimism, as well.
First, 2022 still does not have a hosting city, meaning Detroit may still be in the running for that year. Additionally, the fact that Cleveland will be the host city in 2021 suggests the NFL is willing to choose some untraditional cities to host the event, even if they’re not perceived as the “nicest” city. As long as the city provides a unique experience, it appears NFL commissioner Roger Goodell will keep an open mind.
“Cleveland has a passionate fan base and the city offers distinctive iconic locations and attractions that will bring the NFL Draft experience to fans in unique and exciting ways,” Goodell said in a statement on Wednesday.
Wood clearly knows that and has already started working on brainstorming ideas for a iconically Detroit experience.
“I think what we learned is we need to do something, if we’re going to do it here, that’s really iconically Detroit,” Wood said. “So we have a few ideas on how we may do that.”
Does that mean a draft will finally come to Detroit? We’ll just have to wait and see.