I am not a fan of football – I couldn’t name five starters on any NFL team – but while reading about the Draft Town event that muddled up downtown traffic all weekend
When N.F.L. executives chose last year to move the draft for the first time in a half-century, the decision was based as much on issues in New York as opportunities elsewhere.
But the three-day event in Chicago went so well that the league now faces a new choice: whether to return here next year or move the draft to yet another city.
On Thursday and Friday, 110,000 people visited Draft Town, the free fan festival in Grant Park across the street from the theater where the draft was held. On Saturday, larger crowds were expected when selections in the fourth through seventh rounds were announced at the festival. The crowds far exceeded the league’s original estimates.
Many fans who came to Chicago were from N.F.L. cities within driving distance — Cincinnati, Cleveland, Detroit, Green Bay, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Minneapolis and St. Louis — giving the draft a Midwestern feel.
“How could we not come?” said Alex Paszkowski, a Packers fan who drove 90 minutes from Milwaukee with two friends.
(click here to continue reading City for Next Year’s Draft? N.F.L. Could Have Its Pick – NYTimes.com.)
I read this tidbit:
The league attracted sponsors for its fan festival and persuaded the host city, Chicago, to contribute. The success of the event this year could give the N.F.L. leverage in negotiations with other cities.
“When you negotiate with the N.F.L., you usually lose,” said Allen Sanderson, an economist at the University of Chicago, who added that while the draft helped market the city, it did not provide many economic benefits.
Wait, does that mean the City of Chicago got hosed by the NFL? One of the largest corporations on the planet – a nonprofit corporation even, for some crazy reason – needed a cash-strapped city’s funds to host an event that benefits only the NFL? /shakes fist at Rahm Emanuel Mayor 1%…