The NFL Draft, held in New York City every year since 1965, will have a new home for the 80th edition in 2015. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said on Thursday that New York City is no longer in the running to host next year's draft, leaving Chicago and Los Angeles as the remaining finalists.
While it might be a bit jarring to think that the draft will be leaving the familiar confines of New York's Radio City Music Hall, the two huge metropolitan areas will offer plenty for fans, media and future NFL stars. With that in mind, College Football 24/7 takes a look at both cities in the running to host the 2015 NFL Draft and considers why each deserves to be the league's selection.
Will it be Chi-Town or Hollywood next year? Here's a look at the pros and cons of each:
Likely venue: McCormick Place
Alternate venues: Chicago Theatre, Soldier Field
Pros for Chicago: A Midwestern location would bring a different spin on the event compared to one on the coasts while still giving the league a huge host city. It's a football-mad 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, either. Plus, Mayor Rahm Emanuel is throwing a bunch of money behind a bid and knows how to make the draft a big deal. The last time the draft was held outside NYC, it was in -- you guessed it -- Chicago. McCormick Place also meets all of the requirements of the league and has been anointed the favorite by NFL Media senior analyst Gil Brandt.
Cons: Weather could be unpredictable during the time frame the NFL is targeting. There are similar issues with New York in terms of space and logistics with a few venues. The traffic getting to McCormick Place might make it a tough commute for some that choose to stay farther away from the venue. It's also not quite as "sexy" of an option as the other finalist.
The pitch: Be bold. Think of all the money you can make here, think different and go to Chicago.
Likely venue: Nokia Theatre at L.A. Live
Alternate venues: Dolby Theatre, TCL Chinese Theatre, The Forum, Walt Disney Concert Hall
Pros for L.A.: For years, one of the coolest parts of the NFL draft has been walking up the red carpet to Radio City and having the next generation of stars getting introduced to the country like movie stars. Well, what better place for the draft than star-studded Hollywood? The draft picks could actually walk on the same red carpet that George Clooney and Scarlett Johansson stroll on their way into the Oscars, Emmys or Golden Globes? Few places can match the star power of New York City, but L.A. would be one place that can exceed it.
On top of that, this is one of the top media markets in the country with huge international appeal. And let's not kid ourselves by noting that the city has, by far, the best weather of any city that the league could consider. NFL Network is based in the area and almost all of the major sports networks have a big presence nearby, too. Hotel space shouldn't be a problem. L.A. 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. Owners want a team in Los Angeles and hosting the draft could help accelerate the process with local officials, too.
Cons: 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. The traffic is not something you can ignore, either, and the NFL hasn't held a ton of events on the West Coast beyond games. If L.A. Live is the primary venue, dealing with the Lakers, Clippers and Kings playing at nearby Staples Center would have to be taken into account, as well.
The final pitch: There's no place like Hollywood to introduce the NFL stars of tomorrow.
So, what city would you pick to host the 2015 NFL Draft? It won't be an easy issue for the league to decide, but a fresh spot for the event should do wonders for either Chicago or Los Angeles next year.
You can follow Bryan Fischer on Twitter at @BryanDFischer.