Additional events that may follow
The NFL does a great job of expanding the excitement and expansion of the fan base whenever they can. As a result, the league just recently decided to begin to look at alternative locations for the annual Pro Bowl from its current Orlando location. It’s been reported that beginning 2022 that event will be held in different cities each year.
But that’s not all. There has been some talk recently about possibly turning the annual Combine into a traveling show as well. The Combine has been held in Indianapolis since 1993. It is a meticulously scheduled nine-day event at the end of February and the beginning of March.
More than 300 college athletes in the nation eligible for the draft are fully evaluated physically, medically, and psychologically. Written tests, individual interviews, are also held although privately for obvious reasons. It has been held at Lucas Oil Stadium and, aside from cable TV coverage has never been open to the general public.
Indianapolis does a great job with the Combine and they are not shy at all to brag openly about it. The stadium is five minutes walking distance to all of the medical technology Indiana University can provide, such as multiple MRI machines so vital to evaluate players’ health. They also boast plenty of accommodations within minutes of walking distance.
But never put it past the NFL to generate revenue when they see the opportunity. Until relatively recently, only football nerds like myself actually paid close attention to the Combine while it is actually happening. But the lessons of the draft and the way it has exploded into such a popular attraction and revenue generating source can’t be going unnoticed.
This year, for the first time, increased interest in the Combine has resulted in both ESPN and ABC to televised parts of it along with the NFL Network. You cannot deny how it relates so closely to the draft itself in player identity and interest terms.
What fan wouldn’t want to see their prospect of interest run their 40-yard dash, or see how many times he can bench press 225 pounds? Wouldn’t they want to use the Combine to help them form or confirm their opinion of their prospect of interest? And just imagine what the NFL could make selling those unique and very sharp-looking Combine uniforms.
With all the discussions already about available players and which team may choose which player, isn’t major interest in the Combine a natural extension of the excitement of the actual draft itself? Tremendous athleticism displayed in a unique environment looks great on TV. It would certainly attract a scenario many football fans would truly enjoy seeing in person.
This event spread out over a nine-day period, which could be quite a boon for increased fan interest in the entire NFL football fan experience. The ingenuity of the NFL marketing machine will inevitably be able to draw in more public interest, and of course, the revenue that goes with it.
There is every reason to believe that Detroit could handle any of these events competently.
So with four major annual events, The Super Bowl, Pro Bowl, Draft, and Combine, the NFL now would have a precious luxury. They could award every franchise in the league one major event to host every eight years and allow every franchise and their fan base a great event to directly and personally participate in.