Everything is bigger in Texas. Except when it isn’t.
After a 70,000-person throng showed up last year for the outdoor draft experience in Philadelphia, only 20,000 people were inside AT&T Stadium to see the first round of the draft. The NFL has confirmed that number.
The league says that the total attendance inside the stadium and outside the facility was at 100,000. That’s impressive, but when the stadium holds 100,000 (and even more with seating on the floor), why not use more of the space for fan access?
The NFL says that it “[w]anted to ensure a better viewing experience for fans.” It’s a fair point, but the stadium has a pair of gigantic TV screens hanging over the field. Those would have enhanced the viewing experience.
Also, when the price for entry is zero dollars and zero cents, who cares if people need binoculars? Musical acts routinely pack NFL stadiums, even though from the worst seats in the house it’s impossible to distinguish Ed Sheeran from Eddie Munster.
Maybe the real reason was that the NFL didn’t want to hear what more than 100,000 people simultaneously booing the Commissioner sounds like. Or maybe the NFL didn’t want to set a bar that no other stadium would ever be able to match or exceed.
Regardless, the 80,000 people on the outside of the stadium surely would have walked through the door to witness the proceedings, if they’d been able to do so. For whatever reason, the NFL chose not to embrace the opportunity to set a Wrestlemania III-type record.