With the 2015 NFL draft up for grabs, New York is out and the race has come down to the nation’s second- and third-largest cities to play host to the multi-day event.
“We’re focusing solely on Los Angeles and Chicago now,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said Thursday, speaking to reporters at the Beverly Hilton after participating on a CBS “Thursday Night Football” panel.
New York has hosted the draft since 1965, but has been dropped from consideration for next year, Goodell said, because Radio City Music Hall couldn’t offer available dates in April or May. The event is expected to take place either April 22-25 or April 29-May 2.
“We had 12 cities that were interested,” Goodell said. “We felt the best thing to do was to focus on the three cities, because they had such a tremendous interest. There are very attractive aspects to each of those cities. Because we don’t have the appropriate dates in May our focus is completely on Los Angeles and Chicago.
“They both have tremendous bids.”
Goodell declined to give a timetable on when the league will make its choice.
“I just got an update two days ago,” he said. “I believe the decision will come in late summer, but we’re not going to be bound by that. We’re going to do the right thing.”
The league is considering stretching the draft from three days to four, a concept that would test the creativity of the NFL considering the interest naturally wanes in the later rounds. Still, the TV numbers are staggering. For instance, the first round of this year’s draft drew more viewers than the NBA playoffs (and attracted a larger audience than MLB’s All-Star game.)
Still, keeping viewers tuned in for a fourth day would be a challenge, Goodell said.
“We’re talking about different concepts, primarily how to strengthen the last day and whether we should maybe push that back to the clubs a little bit more and allow the clubs to have a little bit more freedom as more of a club day,” he said. “Maybe they would announce the picks from there. We’re looking at everything under the sun, because there’s a great interest in it and we want to do something that’s more responsive to our fans.”