PHILADELPHIA -- From the moment the gates opened on April 27, the 2017 NFL Draft was a huge success for the city of Philadelphia, with a record-breaking attendance of 250,000 over the three-day event. Football fans of all ages gathered along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway to participate in what has been hailed by many as one of the most successful NFL Drafts ever. According to the NFL Draft Event Impact Report, commissioned by the Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau (PHLCVB) and conducted by Temple University's Sport Industry Research Center (SIRC), direct spending during the 3-day event in April was $56.1 million, resulting in an estimated $94.9 million in economic impact for Philadelphia. The considerable economic output of the draft, which exceeded initial expectations of $80 million, was just one of the highlights. The report also looked at travel behavior of attendees, hotel performance and media impact of the event, among other areas.
"Philadelphia served as a phenomenal host for the 2017 NFL Draft and created a memorable experience for our fans, incoming players, and teams," said Peter O'Reilly, NFL Senior Vice President of Events. "We are grateful to Mayor Kenney, the Philadelphia Eagles, the Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau, and all of our partners for helping make the event a resounding success."
The event packed local restaurants and kept area attractions busy. Altogether, more than30,000 jobs (914 full-time equivalent) were supported by the draft, which helped to generate $38.5 million in personal income. $7.9 million in state and local taxes were also created from income tax, sales tax and hotel occupancy tax, among other categories.
"The draft was a family-friendly event for Philadelphians and visitors across the country," said Philadelphia Mayor, Jim Kenney. "I thank all of our public and private partners, especially the City employees and first responders, who made this event a success and allowed Philly to shine in the national spotlight once again."
Tourism Driver for Philadelphia
Positioned as a driver of tourism within the region, the draft attracted attendees from 42 different states and provided an opportunity for Philadelphia to shine as an event destination, with 93 percent of visitors citing the draft as their primary reason for visiting. Of those who attended, 79 percent would recommend Philadelphia as a travel destination and 62 percent intend to return to Philadelphia for a vacation within the next 12 months -- indicating that the draft will have a continued benefit in the months and years to come.
In total, 18,991 room nights were consumed at paid accommodations between April 26-29 (80 percent in Philadelphia County). While total hotel room nights were below initial projections as some visitors opted for alternate locations during their stay, hotel room revenue was up 11.4 percent (YOY) in the Philadelphia region bringing in an additional $2.1 millionin room revenue over the same time last year, with $1.2 million in Philadelphia County alone.
Raising Philadelphia's Profile Nationally and Globally
The draft helped shine a spotlight on Philadelphia and its assets by attracting top-tier media interest from around the world, with over 1,800 media in attendance. For the time period between the announcement that Philadelphia had won the bid to host the 2017 NFL Draft (September 1, 2016) through May 2017, the PHLCVB tracked 2,352 print, digital and broadcast draft-related stories that contained a destination mention 1 of Philadelphia. These stories resulted in more than 137.4 million media impressions. Additionally, the first round of the NFL Draft was the most-watched cable program of the week and the most-watched sports event of the week on both broadcast and cable networks.
"When we chose to pursue the draft, we did so with the goal of an economic win for our city and region. We are thrilled that not only did it generate substantial economic activity for Philadelphia but we were also successful in showing the world that this city is a premier destination for sports, big events and tourism in general," said Julie Coker Graham, PHLCVB President & CEO.
Media coverage of the event included headlines such as "Philadelphia Fans Show Why the NFL Draft should be in Philadelphia Every Year" from CBS Sports, and on social media prominent sports anchors including ESPN's Adam Schefter lauded the event, tweeting "Props to the city of Philadelphia. That's how to host a draft. No city has injected that much energy, electricity, excitement into draft."
Event Impact Report Methodology
A total of 4,794 attendees of the NFL Draft completed a post-event survey. The results were then compared to the larger population of individuals who attended the 2017 NFL Draft by using other available datasets, before being applied to an input-output (I-O) analysis using IMPLAN modeling software, the most widely accepted methodology for measuring economic impact. The report is intended to capture the overall impact of the 2017 NFL Draft on Philadelphia, however analysis is limited by the data available, namely a survey of attendees and operational expenditures of the NFL. It does not include all spending that occurred by sponsors and other large corporations in conjunction with the event.