Stop us if you’ve heard this one before.
Actually, don’t stop us. Because you have heard it before. It’s one of the stories that pops up from time to time, with plenty of talk and to date no action.
Gary Myers of the New York Daily News reports that the draft could go on the road as soon as 2015. And Myers accurately points out that, if the draft were to leave New York, a bidding war would emerge for the right to host the event. It’s also possible that the draft would be held in multiple cities, a feature that would be absolutely necessary if the NFL even follows through on the very unpopular idea of expanding the draft from three days to four.
It’s likewise possible (if not probable) that the NFL is simply trying to apply pressure to Radio City Music Hall, which hosts the annual event. Per Myers, the contract at Radio City applies only this year, with options for the future.
Which means that, in order to squeeze Radio City into the best possible deal for the NFL, Radio City needs to stare down the barrel of losing the draft completely. Which could mean better financial terms and a more flexible schedule that lets the NFL hold the draft when the NFL wants to hold the draft, regardless of the kind of scheduling conflict that ostensibly delayed the draft by two weeks this year.
Regardless of the reason, there’s a sense the NFL welcomed the delay, so that it could experiment with a May draft. That experiment has been a dud. Fans despise it, players and agents don’t like it, and the teams don’t like it. Meanwhile, the NFL created a lull that helped the NBA expertly address an unwanted situation and become the dominant sport for the first time in a long time.
Ultimately, we think the NFL likes having the draft in New York City, for a wide variety of reasons. It’s got caché. For the many NFL employees who staff the event, it’s got convenience. And it ensures maximum media coverage, both in New York and beyond.
Let’s not forget the ratings angle. The mere hosting of the Super Bowl in the New York area delivered the highest New York area ratings for a Super Bowl in years. By that same logic, a departure of the draft from New York could reduce New York interest watching the event on TV.