After pursuing the event for several years, the Detroit Lions and the Motor City are finalists to host the NFL Draft in the near future.
According to Kyle Meinke of MLive, the Detroit Lions first submitted an application to host the NFL Draft in 2017–to no avail through 2023, with Las Vegas set to host this year and Kansas City hosting next year.
Last spring, Lions president Rod Wood revealed optimism Detroit would be in contention to host the 2024 NFL Draft.
“We’re still in the mix for that,” Wood said last spring. “Hopefully we can bring that to Detroit and by then everything’s fully re-opened and we can have hundreds of thousands of people downtown.”
Speaking to reporters on Monday, ahead of the NFL Combine, Green Bay Packers president Mark Murphy revealed Green Bay, Detroit and Washington DC are the three finalists to host the 2024 NFL Draft. An announcement is slated for no later than the league meetings in late-March.
Detroit would be a fine host city for the NFL Draft
For decades, New York City hosted the NFL Draft. But the league has moved to making it into a fan engagement event too, with Chicago (2015 and 2016), Philadelphia (2017), Dallas (2018, Nashville (2019) and Cleveland (2021) as the host cities over the last several years.
Per Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press, back in 2017 Wood suggested the draft could be spread out to “three or four different locations” in Detroit and being centrally located among the league’s teams was an advantage as a location.
"I think it would be great to host it at Ford Field,” Wood said. “You could get 50,000 people in here and make it kind of a raucous event. I think what’s going on in downtown Detroit with the walkability of going to restaurants and bars and the energy that’s here….And then the other two things I think that are really in our favor is the location of Detroit, relative to other NFL cities, because we want to get as many teams here and their fans rooting for the draft, and we’re centrally located, we’re close to obviously all of the Midwest cities, East Coast cities, and then the importance and proximity to college football."
The Packers previously bid to host the draft in one of 2019-2021, and the shift to a virtual draft in 2020 (originally scheduled for Las Vegas) may now line Green Bay up to get the event in 2024. But Detroit is as close to getting the NFL Draft as it has ever been, now that it has been named a finalist. So if not in 2024, the draft should be coming to the Motor City sometime soon after that.