The NFL draft has exploded in recent years, both live and on television. And while the league has pretty much maximized the exposure it can give the draft on TV and online, there's one way it can continue to literally expand the annual event's reach.
And that's by taking it on the road.
That's something Roger Goodell and Co. is considering, according to Sports Illustrated's Don Banks:
Though the planning and consideration is only in the preliminary stages, league sources say the NFL has tasked three internal study groups to consider options that include holding the three-day draft in three different NFL cities in the same year, or moving it around to a different NFL city each year, in an attempt to make it an even more accessible and fan-friendly event than it has become at Radio City, its home for the past eight years.
That could also mean that the draft would do away with on-site officials from each team, who take up a ton of space at the front of the room in the current format. Are those guys really needed in this day and age? And if you get rid of them, you open up the "mosh pit" for fans and media, which could help make the event more enticing to fans and more entertaining to viewers at home.
The only concern I'd have is that cities would likely be reluctant to take on the third day of the draft. Without Rounds 1-3 in that city, would you really be able to sell Rounds 4-7 on a Saturday afternoon to fans? It'd also be difficult to get players to appear in the second and third cities, which would be a downer. You'd also have to keep in mind the television coverage. Would ESPN and NFL Network have three sets with three broadcast crews in three cities? It'd be quite the undertaking for either network and a bit of a cumbersome product for television purposes. Three cities in three days might be a bit of a stretch, which is why they're also considering staying in one city for the duration of each draft but moving it around from year to year.
That's probably the best and most logical strategy. That way, cities could promote "draft week" to locals and tourists, and the fact that it wouldn't be back the next year could cause more people to come out and take part in draft festivities.