The 2015 NFL draft may stay in the Big Apple. However, two other prominent cities are reportedly in the running to host arguably the most exciting offseason event in North American sports.
NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported Thursday that Radio City Music Hall won't be able to host next year's draft, forcing the league to seek alternatives. Among the finalists to foster the pro football draft spectacle are New York City's Madison Square Garden, along with Chicago and Los Angeles:
The timeline for the draft could also see a shakeup, according to Rapoport:
Michael David Smith of ProFootballTalk.com added extra details on the potential shift in the draft's dynamics:
In another indication that the league is trying to make the draft a bigger event, one of the requirements the league has laid down for the potential hosts is that they need to have space for a fan festival in a space adjacent to the actual draft. The NFL is expected to determine the exact date and location of the draft by the end of the summer.
NFL.com's Brian McCarthy reports that there are additional cities being considered:
With the increased prominence of mock drafts, the increasing football acuity of fans due to the NFL's popularity and the overall draft hype that engulfs the offseason, expanding the draft by a day makes sense.
The league is booming at an unprecedented rate. The 2014 draft class saw a massive influx of underclassmen declare themselves eligible. This proliferation of talent should continue to be a boon for quality in the NFL's product across the board, presuming that trend of younger players coming out earlier continues.
It's almost hard to imagine the draft becoming bigger than it is. Then again, there seems to be a limitless ceiling—player safety issues notwithstanding—for how much the NFL can grow. Making the draft even more of a fresh enterprise in a new, massive market figures to bolster draft interest even further.
Should the draft remain in New York, Madison Square Garden is an ideal venue that can house even more passionate fans. Its superior size to Radio City should also aid the logistics of accommodating the perpetually increasing attention the draft garners.
Similar sized arenas should be considered for Chicago and Los Angeles in that context. The time zone change for Chicago wouldn't make that much of an impact, but shifting the draft site to the West Coast would be a drastic development. The draft tends to run long as it is, and airing the first round in the evening in L.A. would be far too late for those on the other side of the U.S.
That's just the tip of the iceberg regarding the pros and cons of each city, which are sure to be weighed and debated by the NFL powers that be and fans alike.