The Indy 500 will never leave town. The Scouting Combine inevitably will.
The news that NFL’s annual scouting convention will remain in Indianapolis through 2021 amounts to yet another one-year Band-Aid extension, with the reality that the reality show will be taken on the road still looming large over the city that has hosted it for decades.
The league’s power brokers know it, and some of them already are privately saying it. With the draft becoming a major attraction as it migrates from city to city, the Scouting Combine can, and will, follow suit.
It’s just a matter of time, and its time could come as soon as 2022.
The decision to move the Combine workouts into prime time is the clearest indication yet that the league is ready to accelerate the Combine into growth mode. And it’s not hard to envision the event playing out on multiple consecutive evenings with a full stadium of fans and a three-letter network audience and thousands of fans milling about outside the stadium and plenty of other bells and whistles aimed at generated hundreds of thousands of dollars and center in a place other than Indianapolis.
Currently, the event in Indy barely registers a local blip, especially in comparison to other NFL major events. While that’s a good thing for those who are working at the Combine, it’s not as good as it can be for the NFL, which knows that it’s leaving money on the table by letting the Combine stay in Indianapolis.
It surely won’t be there indefinitely. It may not be there for more than the next two years. And the National Football League will find yet another way to generate millions of dollars during the portion of the calendar when no football games are being played.