The annual function won't return to Radio City Music Hall next year, a league source told NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport on Thursday. Venue officials informed the NFL that it would not be available to host in April or May of next year, Rapoport reported.
The 2014 NFL Draft was into May due to logistical issues with an April performance at Radio City Music Hall, but it appears that won't be an issue going forward as the draft will find a new home -- and possibly new city -- in the future.
The source told Rapoport that roughly 12 cities and clubs expressed interest in hosting the draft, and while the NFL is focusing on Los Angeles, Chicago and New York City as potential host cities, the list could grow at some point. Letters were sent Thursday from the league office to all three cities asking for further details on hosting the draft, which is expected to be held April 22-25 or April 29-May 2, per Rapoport's report.
Yes, those dates are an indication that the draft is moving to four days, possibly as early as next year.
Some of the other factors that will determine the location of the event include the ability to host a fan festival in an adjacent indoor or outdoor space and hotel availability, the source told Rapoport. The source said the NFL has asked that all three finalists submit their plans by mid-June for review at the end of that month -- league officials will likely visit each potential site and discuss various logistical concerns before making a decision on the city and venue of the 2015 draft later this summer.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti have already started pitching their cities as hosts to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.
"I've talked to the commissioner, and he's been very open to that (bringing the NFL draft to Los Angeles). I think he wants to make sure he spreads that out," Garcetti told NFL Media's Omar Ruiz Thursday night. "Here's the collision of Hollywood and sports. This is probably the best sports town in the world. During the Olympics we won the equivalent of 90 medals, which was two more than China, from all the athletes that just are from here or train here. And you can see so many great football players who grew up here, so we think there's a great way to kind of reintroduce the NFL to folks in L.A. We all are fans here, but let's bring the NFL here for the draft."
The Madison Square Garden Company figures to be heavily involved in the bidding process either way (it owns Radio City Music Hall) with the Garden as a potential site if the event stays in New York. The company also owns the Chicago Theater and The Forum in Los Angeles, two possible options in the other two cities.
The 2015 edition will be the NFL's 80th college draft. The event has been held in New York City every year since 1965 and has been at Radio City Music Hall since 2006.