According to reports, Canton is one of eight cities to put in a bid to host the NFL Draft should it go on the road as has been speculated.
According to the New York Post’s Bart Hubbuch, Canton, Boston, Dallas, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Orlando, Chicago and Los Angeles have expressed interest in hosting the annual event.
The idea of it coming to Canton is not new, said Joe Horrigan vice president, communications and exhibits for the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and the hall of fame expressed interest before.
With decades of experience hosting enshrinement ceremonies and various events that surround them which attract more than 700,000 people annually, Horrigan said the draft should not be a problem.
“To have one major event like the draft is something I think we could handle very easily,” he said. “The major networks that cover the Draft right now — ESPN and the NFL Network — are two that we work with on our enshrinement ceremony, so all of the familiarity is there and all of the necessary experience is there as well.”
The Canton Memorial Civic Center, which held the Browns expansion draft in 1999, would be the likely venue for the event which currently runs three days.
Scheduling conflicts remain an issue for the New York City’s venerable Radio City Music Hall, which has hosted the NFL since 2006. According to a New York Daily News report, dates for next year aren’t able to be guaranteed.
In fact, a scheduling issue dictated that the draft be moved by two weeks this year into May.
Given Canton’s ties to the NFL with the Pro Football Hall of Fame, it’s a natural choice to host the event if the Civic Center logistically can handle team executives, potential draftees and media.
Radio City seats approximately 4,000 people. The Civic Center has 5,200 seats, but 3,500 without floor seating.
An NFL spokesman said 1,206 media credentials were issued for the NFL Draft and related events this week in New York, the most ever.
George M. Thomas can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.