The days of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell strolling to the microphone at Radio City Music Hall appear to be over. After nine years, the NFL Draft is on the move and will no longer be at the famous New York City landmark, according to NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport.
While the news that surfaced on Thursday does not come as a surprise, it still is a bit jarring to think that the draft might not even be in the familiar confines of New York going forward. With that in mind, CFB 24/7 takes a look at a few of the cities and venues in the running to host the 2015 NFL Draft and why each deserves to be the league's selection.
1. Availability on two blocks of dates -- April 22-25 and April 29-May 2.
2. Ability to host an NFL fan festival in adjacent outdoor or indoor space.
3. Hotel availability for fans, media, staff and prospects.
Los AngelesLikely venue: Nokia Theatre at LA Live
Alternate venues: Dolby Theatre, TCL Chinese Theatre, The Forum, Walt Disney Concert Hall
Positives: One of the top media markets in the country with, by far, the best weather -- what could go wrong? The city hardly blinks when it hosts the Oscars, Emmy's and ESPY's, among others, and the idea of having celebrities stop by the draft has to appeal to the NFL as it tries to continue to increase the viewership of the event. NFL Network is based in the area and almost all of the major sports networks have a big presence nearby. Hotel space shouldn't be a problem, and there are plenty of red carpets available for the top prospects to walk down. LA Live would be a great spot with its central location, ample space and ability to host the fan fest the league wants to hold next door.
Negatives: Not having an NFL team nearby has to be one of the biggest obstacles, and the unknown response by local fans figures to be a huge question mark for a Los Angeles bid. Plus, there's that whole traffic issue, and the NFL hasn't held a ton of events on the West Coast. If LA Live is the primary venue, dealing with the Lakers, Clippers and Kings playing at nearby Staples Center would have to be taken into account.
The pitch: What better way to start the process of the NFL returning to Los Angeles than to have it host the draft?
New York CityLikely venue: Madison Square Garden
Alternate venues: Javits Convention Center, Beacon Theatre, Barclays Center
Positives: Tradition. The draft has been in the city since 1965, and the ability to quickly get from league headquarters to the venue has always been a positive for many executives. There's ample hotel space around and the bright lights of the Big Apple make for a great trip for many of the college players. Plus, the ability to go on a variety of national TV and radio shows has always been a big draw of the city.
Negatives: The fan fest space that the NFL is interested in could be a problem at a few of the venues. All three cities are expensive, but NYC is probably tops when it comes to costs. A lack of alternatives other than MSG might be an issue, and the Rangers and Knicks playing around draft time could complicate things for a four-day event.
The pitch: Why mess with history? Everybody is used to coming to New York City for the draft, and there's no reason to change that.
ChicagoLikely venue: McCormick Place
Alternate venues: Chicago Theatre, Soldier Field
Positives: A Midwestern location would bring a different spin on the event compared to one on the coasts. It's a football-mad, large-media market that offers plenty of nearby attractions and has a long history of hosting major events. Being the hometown of the President doesn't hurt, and Mayor Rahm Emanuel knows how to make the draft a big deal in the city. The last time the draft was held outside NYC, it was in, you guessed it, Chicago.
Negatives: Weather would likely be worse than fellow contender Los Angeles, and there are similar issues to New York in terms of space and logistics with a few venues. The city's bid for the 2016 Summer Olympics was dead on arrival, and you wonder if negative attitudes remain about spending public money to lure a big event like the draft. It's also not quite as "sexy" of an option as the other two finalists.
The pitch: Be bold, think different and go to Chicago.
Other potential contenders:
Dallas: AT&T Stadium and the Dallas/Forth Worth Metroplex have hosted the Super Bowl, Final Four, the NBA Finals, NHL All-Star Game and NBA All-Star Game in recent years, why not the NFL draft?
Houston: The spread-out nature of the city hampers planning, but it has a great venue in Reliant Stadium and there are plenty of football fans that would pack the draft.
Pittsburgh: The Rooney family is one of the most powerful and respected in the NFL, and 81-year-old Dan Rooney would love to bring a marquee event like the draft to his city.
Philadelphia: How interesting would it be to hear Eagles fans at the draft when it is their team's turn to pick? There should be plenty of tie-ins with American history, and it is close enough to New York to minimize some media issues.
Boston: Robert Kraft is a powerful owner and undoubtedly wants his city to host. The local fans booing every pick might be a highlight.
Canton, Ohio: Having the draft close to the Pro Football Hall of Fame would be a big boost to the latter and would show draft picks what they need to have their sights on.
Follow Bryan Fischer on Twitter @BryanDFischer.