The NFL announced Monday it is canceling its Draft activities scheduled for April 23-25 in Las Vegas because of coronavirus concerns, but suggested the city might get a bigger prize down the road. Commissioner Roger Goodell released a statement saying the NFL Draft will still continue, just not in Vegas.

NFL Draft Las Vegas
The NFL Draft in Las Vegas was going to feature a stage in front of the Bellagio fountains and a boat taking draft picks to the stage, but the league canceled the festivities. (Image: NFL)

Goodell said the league is exploring, “innovative options for how the process will be conducted and will provide that information as it becomes available.” He added he received advice from the Centers for Disease Control.

“This decision reflects our foremost priority — the health and safety of all fans and citizens,” Goodell in a statement. “While this outcome is disappointing both to the NFL and to the Las Vegas community, we look forward to partnering with the Raiders, the City of Las Vegas, and the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority for a future NFL Draft, as well as evaluating opportunities for other major NFL events in Las Vegas in the future, including the Super Bowl.”

NFL Draft Party Comes Up Craps

Las Vegas Raiders owner Mark Davis said he consulted with the league and they decided to cancel the draft activities in the city.

“After careful consideration, the Las Vegas Raiders, the NFL, the NFLPA, and the LVCVA have decided to cancel the 2020 Las Vegas NFL Draft celebration,” Davis said. “Health and safety has always been our top priority. So despite it being a major disappointment, this was the right decision.”

The draft has become an economic boom to the city that hosts it. Last year, Nashville, home of the Tennessee Titans, saw 600,000 people visit during draft week, helping to add an estimated $224 million to the city’s coffers.

Las Vegas had plans to outdo Nashville’s lavish draft. The famed Strip was to be the site of the draft’s first three days, with the main stage planned to be in front of the iconic Bellagio fountains. First-round picks were going to be taken by boat to the stage after their name was announced.

Not a Bad Consolation Prize

Goodell did say that Las Vegas will be considered as the host of a future Super Bowl. Cities are booked through 2023, but the 2024 or 2025 Super Bowl could be held at the Raiders’ new home, Allegiant Stadium.

The city might see more money from that then from the NFL Draft. Miami, which hosted Super Bowl 44 in February, estimated that it received an economic boost of $500 million. When new stadiums are built, the league usually awards them a Super Bowl. SoFi Stadium, the Los Angeles Rams new home, is putting on the 2021 Super Bowl.

Davis says he’s confident a Super Bowl will be hosted in Las Vegas sooner, rather than later.

“Although Las Vegas lost this chance to shine, there will be many more opportunities to show the world just what Las Vegas is made of. Whether it be the draft, the Pro Bowl, or the Super Bowl, the Sports and Entertainment Capital of the World is ready!” Davis said.

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