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Indianapolis considering a pitch to host NFL Draft

NFL: APR 26 2019 NFL Draft Photo by Michael Wade/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Colts fans living in Indianapolis are all too familiar with the incredible amount of traffic Lucas Oil Stadium and the convention center gets on an annual basis. The NFL holds the annual NFL Combine in Indianapolis, and has since 1987. The city hosted Super Bowl XLVI on in February of 2012, and capitalized on unseasonably warm weather to provide an incredible experience to the city’s many visitors.

Indianapolis will also be hosting the NBA All-Star game in 2021, has hosted the Big Ten football championship annually since it started in 2011, is set to host the NCAA men’s basketball Final Four in 2021 and 2026, and will host the College Football National Championship in 2022. The city is also home of the NCAA headquarters and museum.

Needless to say, there is a rich history of sports in Indianapolis and it continues to result in major sporting events coming through Indiana.

When the NFL chose to finally release the NFL Draft from New York City, where the event was held from 1965 to 2014, it made sense that Indianapolis would be on the list of possible destinations. And yet, there hasn’t been any serious discussion or mention of Indianapolis as a possible host.

It turns out, one of the primary reasons the city hasn’t been considered to host the NFL Draft is that it has not yet entered a bid for the event. Mickey Shuey of the Indianapolis Business Journal noted that the city considered entering a bid for the 2020 draft in 2017 but decided to pass.

This year, though, the city is considering entering a bid to be awarded the NFL Draft as soon as 2024 and as late as 2028. Vice President of Visit Indy, Chris Gahl, said “We’ve had very healthy discussions,” but noted that they are “still in their infancy.”

One interesting note is that some in the NFL may feel that Indianapolis doesn’t need to host another major event because it already holds the Combine each year. However, Marc Ganis, a sports business expert based out of Chicago, said “This is a process, I think, where Indianapolis will have strength, because it already deals with many of the same people for the Combine.”

While the process may be in its early stages, it is difficult to count Indianapolis out. The city has put together an impressive streak of major events through 2022. There is little reason to believe that, if Indianapolis really wants to put in the effort, the NFL Draft could be added to the list.