For the first time in history, the NFL draft will take place at an NFL stadium — and of course it's going to be the Dallas Cowboys' AT&T Stadium in Arlington. Of course.
The 83rd NFL Draft will take place on April 26-28, 2018. The draft site will incorporate the stadium's field, stands, and outdoor plazas, creating an all-encompassing atmosphere and enabling more fans than ever before to watch team selections. It'll be draft everywhere you look.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell made the announcement on October 18 at the league's annual fall meeting, following a review of the proposal by the Super Bowl & Major Events Advisory Committee and full ownership.
The decision is the result of a months-long examination of plans submitted by various cities to host the 2018 NFL Draft.
Goodell credits Philadelphia with having set up the shot for Dallas.
"Philadelphia raised the bar by taking the draft to another level, and this new opportunity in Dallas will enable us to continue the event's evolution and grow it even further," he says in a release. "We are grateful to the Dallas Cowboys, the cities of Arlington, Dallas, and Frisco, and the Dallas Sports Commission for their leadership in turning this vision into reality."
The NFL Draft has grown into one of the biggest sporting events of the year. A record-breaking 250,000 fans attended the 2017 NFL Draft in Philadelphia, along with more than 1,800 accredited media who covered it.
Round 1 of the 2017 NFL Draft was broadcast live on ESPN and NFL Network. It was the most-watched cable program of the week and the most-watched sports event of the week on both broadcast and cable networks. During its three days, draft programming claimed five out of the top 10 spots among sports events, including the No. 1 spot.
There will be sponsorship. Called the NFL Draft Experience Presented by Dannon Oikos Triple Zero — which really just rolls off the tongue, does it not? — the festival will allow fans of all teams to participate in football drills, enjoy interactive exhibits and autograph sessions, and take pictures with the Vince Lombardi Trophy. It will take over the plazas directly outside the stadium, transforming the area for attendees.
The schedule is as follows:
- April 26: The NFL Draft returns to primetime with Round 1.
- April 27: Rounds 2 and 3 will feature members of the NFL Legends Community, as well as special guests to be announced.
- April 28: Rounds 4-7 will conclude the event.
Round 1 will include incoming prospects walking the red carpet before entering the NFL Draft theater, which will be constructed directly on the field. A portion of the stadium will be opened up for the public to attend. Interested fans can win seated tickets at no cost.
Before the draft had grown into the entertainment juggernaut it is today, it was held almost exclusively at hotels, beginning in 1936 at the Ritz-Carlton in Philadelphia, before hopscotching through cities such as Chicago, Milwaukee, and Washington, D.C. New York hotels held a lock on it from the '60s until 1995, when it officially moved to an entertainment venue — namely, Madison Square Garden. From 2006-2014, it was at Radio City Music Hall in New York.