INDIANAPOLIS — Indianapolis is known for being a sports and tourism destination, but now the city is ready to reach a new level by hosting the NFL Draft.
The Visit Indy tourism agency, along with Mayor Joe Hogsett, the Indiana Sports Corporation and the Indianapolis Colts are seriously considering submitting a bid for the NFL Draft, as soon as 2024.
By then, the infrastructure of Indianapolis will have grown with 2,000 new hotel rooms being added, including the 38-story Hilton Hotel slated to be constructed at Pan-Am Plaza. The much-anticipated Red Line will have long been completed, and the Blue and Purple rapid transit lines are expected to be completed by 2022.
Between now and 2024, Indianapolis has a lot on its plate with a full schedule of major events, including the 2021 NBA All-Star Game and NCAA men's Final Four. Then in 2022, the city will host the college football playoffs. Gahl believes Indy's hosting resume could help seal the deal making this new opportunity one the city can't pass up.
Visit Indy's Chris Gahl said the new construction and Indianapolis track record of hosting large sporting events will catch the attention of the NFL.
"As we look toward the All-Star Game and the College Football Playoffs, we know we don't need those pieces to host those successfully, however they would be needed to retain the combine and attract attact the draft," Gahl said. "It's diversifying our portfolio, which is important when you're known for sports," he said. "You need to continue to retain the events you have a proven track record."
The plan for hosting the draft is still in the planning stages, but it will be ready to be submitted to the NFL by the fall.
This year's draft was held in Nashville and attracted 600,000 football fans to the city. Visit Indy believes the city can top that.