As it turns out, the NFL Draft isn't coming to Northeast Ohio.
At least not anytime soon.
On Wednesday, the league announced that Las Vegas will host the 2020 NFL Draft. Cleveland-Canton had previously been named a finalist for both the 2020 Draft and 2019 Draft, the latter of which was awarded to Nashville earlier this year.
"Once again Ohio gets short shrifted,” said Jeff Kiggans, a Bolivar resident. “it wouldn't the first time."
Northeast Ohio's bid, which was submitted to the league by the Cleveland Browns, Pro Football Hall of Fame and Greater Cleveland Sports Commission in 2017, included a proposal to have the first two days of the draft held at the Public Auditorium in Downtown Cleveland, the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton hosting the final four rounds on Saturday.
2020 would have doubled as the 100th anniversary of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
"They're putting a hotel around here,” said Kiggans. “They’re increasing the infrastructure around Canton. What else can we do?,” he asked.
Cleveland was selected as one of five finalists to host either the 2019 or 2020 drafts, along with Denver, Kansas City, Nashville and Las Vegas, earlier this year.
"Congratulations to Las Vegas and we are certain the city will produce a wonderful draft to be enjoyed by all football fans," the Pro Football Hall of Fame said in a statement Wednesday. "The Pro Football Hall of Fame looks forward to complementing the draft every year with special content from Canton.
"Meanwhile, the Hall, the city of Canton, and all of northeast Ohio continue to focus on a spectacular centennial celebration of the founding of the NFL that will take place in 2020."
At Jerzee’s Sports Grille in Canton, bar manager Scott Pillen says the NFL’s decision is a blow to the city of Canton.
"We would have had a full house. For more than one day,” he said about the draft’s potential economic impact. “it would have helped a lot of people. “It would have helped the whole economy. The whole area.,” he said.
Las Vegas' hosting of the draft will come in the same year that it is expected to become the home of the Raiders. It remains to be seen whether Cleveland-Canton will move forward with a bid for the 2021 Draft and what the league's timetable will be for announcing such event.
"We will not disappoint you,” said Pillen. “We throw a great party here. We love football. It belongs here."