Only 20,000 fans were inside the 100,000-seat stadium for round one

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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.

30 responses to “Only 20,000 fans were inside the 100,000-seat stadium for round one

  1. Loved when it was in Chicago. Enjoyed being there both times. Pretty cool they are rotating it now. One of the cheap things the NFL provides its fans, not sponsors or business people. Its fans.

  2. Too over produced. Just like NFL prime time games. In my opinion producers are a big reason why people are cutting the cord. The NFL draft is one of the times where less is more. But modern day producers want “more X !” they want “more y” they want “more Z.” Too many opinions. Too much glitz. Too much glamour. Pretty soon you can’t see the forest for the trees.

    Many times less is more.

  3. It made the experience inside that much better. A nice crowd energy, but you could actually access bathrooms and concession stands. People weren’t stacked on top of each other. It was truly awesome. Plus, it was the most ever inside a draft hall (vs. outside last year). So they still have something to hang their hat on.

  4. This is just more evidence that even Dallas residents hold Roger Goddell in low regard. He extracted a hefty fine from the Cowboy’s beloved Jerry Jones’ misguided legal action against the league.

  5. The NFL stated in 2017 100,000 people attended the Day 1 Draft in Philly.
    Then the NFL and Jerry Jones pumps up about beating that.
    So now the NFL in 2018 get 100,000 people to attend the Day 1 Draft in Dallas, while limiting the in-stadium crowd to the lamest fans I’ve ever seen (were they plucked from sports fans of comic con?!).

    A year after Philly sets the new Draft standard, Dallas can’t beat it.

    And they’re used to the disappointment – they’re conditioned to it.

  6. “[w]anted to ensure a better viewing experience for fans.”

    Also – we’ll pack it with paying customers for NFL games with ridiculous prices, but yeah, the viewing experience is absolutley abysmal

  7. Well to be somewhat fair they crammed it into one endzone corner. Really stupid on the part of whoever made that decision.

  8. mjtn says:
    April 27, 2018 at 11:12 am
    Philadelphia still the best draft!


    It’s all relative, I guess. Being the “best” event in a string of snore-inducing events is really nothing to brag about.

  9. They don’t sell alcohol inside the draft (at least they didn’t for 2 years in Chicago) and that would be a major reason nobody wants to be in there for 3 plus hours

  10. upperdecker19 says:
    April 27, 2018 at 11:30 am
    Eddie Munster has a high motor! High potential. Excellent ceiling.


    I don’t know about Eddie, but his old man once punted a football that traveled several city blocks…

  11. There definitely was not 100,000 people there.

    They kept angling their camera shots to show people, but they inadvertently showed big empty spots with only 1 or 2 people in a large area.

    Lame. The stage sucked. It looked like a Taylor Swift concert with people surrounding the stage.

  12. It wasn’t the amount of people in Philly last year it was the atmosphere.That might be matched in several cities but never in Jerryville

  13. They were saying they wanted 20k *more* than what Philly drew last year. Instead, they only got 20k. Even for those of us who knew all along that Dallas has mostly fair weather football fans, this is a shockingly low number.

  14. This claim of 100,000 people reminds me of a certain president bragging about his inauguration was the BIGGEST ever! Yet the photo evidence clearly shows very sparse crowds from multiple angles.

  15. Filling every seat in an NFL stadium to watch a draft would suck. It’s one thing to listen to a band with excitement than watching a person come on stage every 20 minutes to announce a pick. You’re better off outside where I’d hope there would be all kinds of TV’s and fan experience stuff.

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