Report: NFL Cancels Public Draft Event in Vegas, Opts for Studio Broadcast

Richard Schultz_NFL Photo Library
Richard Schultz/NFL Photo Library

In response to the Chinese coronavirus scare, the NFL has canceled its ambitious, outdoor 2020 Draft production that was set for Las Vegas and will replace it with a more controlled event, reports say.

The wide-ranging event was set to start in Vegas on April 23 and was to feature a number of big events for the public to enjoy.

From the original designs published in January, the red-carpet stage was to be a pier floating in the man-made lake amid the fountains outside the Vegas Bellagio. League officials, presenters, draftees, and their families, and others who were going to be interviewed, were to be ferried to and from the floating stage. The event was also going to feature a whole bunch of street games, performances, and other events to be held in the streets around the Bellagio.

While the Draft is still scheduled to kick off on April 23, all the big plans have been canceled in favor of a smaller, more controlled environment.

Commissioner Roger Goodell foreshadowed the change in a recent memo to all league employees the LA Times reported.

“Planning for the Draft is a good example of how we need to think differently, embrace technology, and collaborate. We will also use the Draft to help support fans and those people impacted in our communities,” Goodell wrote in a statement.

“While there have been changes to the way we work and some of our plans, we have an unwavering commitment to upholding the NFL’s legacy of unifying and lifting the spirit of America, and bringing out the best in our fans and in our communities around the world,” Goodell wrote. “You’ll hear more from us in the days and weeks ahead about how we intend to demonstrate that commitment well beyond our fields. And I hope you’ll share your ideas on how we can do that.”

Last week, the league had already begun changing its plans for the 2020 Draft when it announced that the Draft would be held without any fans.

“This decision reflects our foremost priority — the health and safety of all fans and citizens,” Goodell said in a March 16 message.

The league has not yet revealed its full plans for the 2020 Draft, but it appears that some of it may include remote broadcasts from the headquarters of each team, as opposed to a central event attended by all of them.

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