CLEVELAND -- The National Football League joined representatives from the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Cleveland Browns and visitor’s bureaus of both Cleveland and Canton on a site survey ahead of the decisions on host cities for the 2019 and 2020 NFL Drafts.
The combined bid of Cleveland and Canton was chosen as a finalist to host the NFL Draft in either 2019 or 2020 on February 15, 2018.
In addition to the Cleveland/Canton bid, Kansas City, Tennessee, Denver and Las Vegas were selected as finalists. The winners of the bids to host the 2019 and 2020 NFL Drafts will be announced at the Spring League Meeting in May.
The NFL held their annual draft in New York City from 1965 through 2014, but three years ago, league officials took the show on the road.
The NFL Draft was held in Chicago for two years (2015, 2016), and on the steps of the famed Philadelphia Museum of Art in “The City of Brotherly Love” this past year. The 2018 NFL Draft will be held at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, from April 26-28.
The 2019 NFL Draft coincides with the league’s 100th season, and the 2020 event will recognize the centennial of the establishment of the NFL in Canton, Ohio, on August 20, 1920.
“This area being the birthplace of pro football, and obviously, the way the draft has evolved where it really is a tremendous reflection on the community and the passion for football here, obviously, the depth of football on all levels, right down to youth football and sports in general, I think this would be a great community,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell told reporters on a visit to Browns Training Camp last August.
In recent years, the Pro Football Hall of Fame has committed to making itself a must-see vacation destination for football fans with the expansion of their facilities to better honor the history of the game, including the renovation of Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium and the construction of a hotel.
Set to be completed in 2019, the $700 million renovation project will feature a holographic theater, the Black College Football Hall of Fame, a national youth sports complex, The Center for Excellence to grow a safer game and a Performance Center for multi-sport usage, as well as the Hall of Fame Hotel and Hall of Fame Promenade.
“The draft really has evolved, and it’s because of the passion and the interest in it,” Goodell told the media following the Browns Fan Forum last August. “I think they each bring their own twist to it, their own flavor, and I think that’s what’s really made it so special for us in the couple years we’ve been moving it around.
“Cleveland, obviously, and Northeast Ohio, Canton, Ohio, it’s the birthplace of football, and I believe that the passion here would be extraordinary, so I think it would be a great event.”