Philadelphia saw an enormous turnout for this year’s NFL draft, with the league claiming 250,000 people attended the three-day outdoor festival surrounding the event. But a crowd that big doesn’t necessarily mean the draft has to be in a big city.
Green Bay is pushing to host the draft, and Brad Toll, the president of the city’s convention and visitors bureau, says his city could manage a Philadelphia-sized crowd.
“My gut feeling is with the people they had in town, we could accommodate that,” Toll told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “Between the Resch Center and Titletown District, we certainly have every bit of space they need.”
But the problem facing Green Bay is less about the physical space to fit that many people than about the hotel rooms to accommodate them. Green Bay has just 4,700 hotel rooms while neighboring Appleton adds another 3,000. The Philadelphia region has more than 35,000 hotel rooms.
The NFL wants to make the draft an event big enough that football fans will travel from around the country to attend. Green Bay may not be big enough for that. But they’re going to try to convince the NFL they can handle it.