CANTON, Ohio — The city of Cleveland is rejoicing on Wednesday with the news that it has been awarded the NFL Draft in 2021.
However, when cities/teams first had the opportunity to bid for the draft, the Cleveland Browns and the Pro Football Hall of Fame combined forces with the thought that some combination of Cleveland and Canton would host the draft. Wednesday's announcement did not include Canton.
"I think logistically, perhaps it (the distance between Cleveland and Canton) was too far apart to handle the draft," said Pro Football Hall of Fame spokesperson Pete Fierle told WKYC's Amani Abraham. "Having it in one location is I think what was preferred. I can't speak for why the NFL liked this bid better than previous bids for the region, but the Hall of Fame is absolutely thrilled that the draft is coming to Northeast Ohio."
You can watch the entire interview with Pete Fierle in the player above or by clicking here.
In 2018, the NFL announced that the combined bid of Cleveland and Canton had been chosen as a finalist to host the NFL Draft in either 2019 or 2020. As it turns out, Nashville received the bid in 2019 and Las Vegas will get the draft in 2020.
"The challenge is out there because Nashville certainly did a wonderful job, but we're certain that Cleveland is going to do it better than it's ever been done before," said Fierle.
2020 will be a big year for the Pro Football Hall of Fame with the centennial of the establishment of the NFL in Canton on Aug. 20, 1920.
"The celebration that will happen in Canton with the centennial will be once in a lifetime and we're planning on making that as big as we can to shine the spotlight on Canton as the birthplace of the NFL," Fierle added.
The centennial celebration comes as the Pro Football Hall of Fame continues its massive expansion. The plan started back in 2015 with the announcement that the Hall of Fame’s Stadium would be getting a makeover and new youth fields would be built nearby. Four years later, the HOF is in the beginning of its second phase to construct a new hotel, retail space and its Center for Excellence.
Over time, the project’s price tag has inched closer to nearly a billion dollars for the Johnson Controls Hall of Fame Village. About $230 million of the $900 million project is completed, with more work planned ahead.