Could Atlanta host an NFL Draft?

Credit: Matt Rourke

Credit: Matt Rourke

The NFL Draft is the new Super Bowl.

For the last three years, the NFL’s spring showcase has become a roadshow.

After almost 50 years in New York, the NFL Draft has ventured to Chicago and now Philadelphia, where nearly 100,000 people attended the festivities surrounding the first round of selections on Thursday.

In all, 22 clubs and the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, have expressed interest in hosting.

Representatives from 16 NFL cities are in Philadelphia observing how the City of Brotherly Love handles the draft.

So unlike the Super Bowl, for now bidding to stage the draft is being done yearly; each Super Bowl through 2021 has been awarded.

Atlanta will host the Super Bowl at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in 2019.

Potential bidders have been told to consider hosting a draft sometime in the next five years.

“Obviously, the Super Bowl process bid is very formal, and the mode we’re in now shows clearly a lot of interest in the draft from markets around the country,” Peter O’Reilly, the league's senior vice president of events. “We are evaluating and making sure we grow this in right way.”

O’Reilly notes it takes about 10 months to plan and put together the event the draft has become.

The league is seeking locations that create a showcase event that is iconic and pretty much takes over a city. The NFL believes that happened in Chicago and is happening in Philly.

“Every city is unique,” O’Reilly says. “It does get the creative juices flowing. We’re not looking for cookie cutter experiences, but for a natural place people gather for free events.”

So Atlanta, for example, could offer Centennial Olympic Park, Piedmont Park, and on and on.

-- This articles contains information from the Associated Press.