The 82nd NFL draft is coming back to its roots in Philadelphia. Next week’s event, held April 27-29, will be the largest fan experience produced by the NFL, and will provide fans with three days of interactive exhibits, NFL meet-and-greets and more.
The Ben Franklin Parkway is expected to bring about 200,000 fans to the event and the city is looking at a large
economic boost of up to $81 million. Temple associate professor and director of the Sports Research Center Jeremy Jordan has studied the draft the past two years in Chicago and is expecting it to bring similar results to Philadelphia.
“What we’ve found in 2015 is the economic impact was about $80 million and in 2016 it was very consistent,” Jordan said. “So given what they had to invest to host the event we felt it was a positive thing for Chicago.”
While Chicago and Philadelphia are both metropolitan areas with many similarities, Jordan also thinks Philadelphia’s location will have an impact on the event’s attendance.
“Philadelphia is unique in some regards because of its geographic location. So if you think of where it’s at on the eastern seaboard it’s very close to large metropolitan areas with a large NFL fan base,” Jordan said.
The draft event is expected to cost about $25 million, of which the NFL covers 80 percent of the bill. The host city is responsible for covering city services such as marketing support and construction. Philadelphia plans to contribute $500,000 in public funding, and anything over that amount will be reimbursed.
The Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau said the city has been fundraising for a year and has received support from mostly corporate and hospitality donors.
“We’ve been reaching out to the corporate community and have received some packages, primarily hospitality-based, that we’ve been able to pitch. We have more than 20 companies that have come on board throughout the region, so we’re very thankful for that,” Larry Needle, Sports Director of PHL Sports said.
Some city residents have become skeptical about the use of public funding and whether it will be worthwhile for the city. Jordan and Needle couldn’t guarantee a specific amount of money the event will bring to the city, but they both believe it will be a positive thing for Philadelphia.
“26,000 jobs are supported, so it’s really a no-brainer and a win-win economically and in every other way,” Needle said.