Market size will not determine which city hosts the 2018 NFL Draft, Roger Goodell said Friday.
“It’s not about big markets; to me, it’s about passion,” the NFL Commissioner said, via Terez Paylor of the Kansas City Star.
Goodell, in Kansas City for the team’s annual fantasy camp, said 14 teams sent representatives to Philadelphia last month to observe the draft.
“There’s a tremendous amount of interest in all communities to host this,” Goodell said. “It has a tremendous platform, in that it gives exposure to communities, and it has a tremendous econonic impact.
“But the event has become much bigger than it ever has, and it takes more infrastructure. Even our draft recently in Philadelphia, it set a new standard, it created a new event — 250,000 people.”
The NFL annually held its draft in New York City before Chicago hosted in 2015 and 2016 and Philadelphia hosted this year.
North Texas has been regarded as the favorite for the 2018 NFL Draft, but Texas Governor Greg Abbott called for a special legislative session to consider a bill regulating bathroom use by transgender people in public buildings. When North Carolina passed a similar “bathroom bill,” it cost the state several sporting events, and the NFL says that bill could result in the league keeping the draft out of North Texas.
The NFL expects to have a decision on the site of the 2018 event later this summer or early in the fall.
Kansas City has made no secret of wanting the draft since it lacks enough premium hotel rooms to make a bid for the Super Bowl.
“I think we’d see the same kind of passion here in Kansas City,” Goodell said. “But I believe we had 14 cities in Philadelphia that were all there to talk about how we’re going to improve our bid, our proposal, how we would make the draft even bigger. So the game and the standards keep going up.”