When the most recent flurry of reports and sound bites emerged regarding the league’s interest in relocating the draft from Manhattan, I thought the NFL was simply squeezing the cojones of the folks who run Radio City Music Hall.
Now, I’m not so sure.
It seems the NFL is serious about making the draft a much bigger event, in a significantly larger venue with the excitement that comes from a new set of fans getting to attend the festivities. One possibility would be having the draft in a different city for each of the three (or perhaps four) days of the event, which would give it a natural freshness and energy each and every day.
Logistically, it would be inconvenient and expensive for the league to pull it off. But the NFL also could generate significant new revenues by using a Super Bowl-style bidding process for the draft.
The league also could make more money by selling the rights to televise the first round of the draft to a broadcast network. While that possibility never has been mentioned by the NFL or reported by those citing unnamed NFL sources, the push to May was about drawing a bigger audience during the sweeps period. The audience can get even larger — and in turn result in more money for the league — if the event lands on ABC, CBS, FOX, or NBC.
Regardless of how it all plays out, it’s becoming more and more clear that the NFL is ready to fully capitalize on the draft, in every way that it can.