The NFL announced Thursday that its draft is returning to its original city of Philadelphia in 2017.
Here is a release from the NFL:
The 82nd NFL Draft will be held April 27-29, 2017, along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia, incorporating famed city landmarks spanning from Philadelphia City Hall to the iconic steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and Philadelphia*Mayor Jim Kenney *announced today.
"Philadelphia is a passionate football town and will serve as a tremendous backdrop for the Draft and provide a great atmosphere for our fans and incoming players," said Goodell. "[Eagles Owner] Jeffrey Lurie has been a strong advocate and supporter of the draft on behalf of the City of Philadelphia throughout the entire selection process. We look forward to working with the Philadelphia Eagles, the City of Philadelphia and the Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau (PHLCVB) to create a week-long celebration of football for our fans."
The Draft, which was held in Chicago the previous two years, will once again be set in primetime for Rounds 1-3. Round 1 will take place on Thursday, April 27 while Rounds 2-3 will be held on Friday, April 28. The Draft will conclude on Saturday, April 29 with Rounds 4-7.
Fans of all teams can follow the Draft, enjoy interactive exhibits and autograph sessions with current and former players, and take pictures with the Vince Lombardi Trophy at Draft Town presented by Oikos Triple Zero, a massive, free outdoor fan festival.
Round 1 festivities will include incoming prospects walking the red carpet before entering an outdoor theater. More fans than ever before will be able to view the Commissioner announcing selections and greeting draftees during the first round. Thirty-two former players who are members of the NFL Legends Community, one representing each team, will be on hand for Night 2 to announce selections. Night 2 Draft announcements will also feature winners of the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award presented by Nationwide.
"On behalf of the City and our legion of Philadelphia Eagles fans, we're proud to be chosen as host city for the 2017 NFL Draft," said Kenney. "We are excited to showcase Philadelphia and our passion for football, and fully expect an awesome experience for all those attending in 2017 and for those watching at home. I'm thankful for the incredible team at the NFL and the Philadelphia CVB for making this happen."
The first NFL Draft was held at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Philadelphia in 1936. Philadelphia also hosted the event in 1949-50, 1953-54, 1956 (Rounds 1-3) and 1957-61.
The Benjamin Franklin Parkway is home to some of the nation's most iconic museums and institutions, including the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Rodin Museum, the Barnes Foundation, the Franklin Institute, the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul, and City Hall. The Parkway is also the scene of several high-profile events such as the 2015 Papal Visit before the World Meeting of Families Conference and music festivals such as the Made In America Music Festival and Live 8.
"We are truly excited to serve as the host city for the NFL Draft, one of the country's largest and most prestigious sports events," said PHLCVB President & CEO Julie Coker Graham. "We anticipate that the Draft will attract more than 200,000 football fans from across the country, which we at the PHLCVB estimate will lead to over $80 million in economic impact for our city and a huge win for all of our hospitality partners."
The 2015 NFL Draft was held in Chicago, the first time the event was located outside of New York City in more than 50 years. The 2016 NFL Draft returned to Chicago with more than 225,000 fans making their way down Michigan Avenue and attending the draft inside the Auditorium Theatre at Roosevelt University, Selection Square driven by Hyundai and Draft Town presented by Oikos Triple Zero located in Grant Park, over three days.
"The NFL Draft will be awesome for our city and a real gift for the fans of Philadelphia," said former Eagles quarterback and Co-Chair of the Philadelphia NFL Draft Host Committee Ron Jaworski. "The NFL will put on an incredible show, and I'm thrilled to work with my co-chair, Ira Lubert, and the entire business community to ensure the Draft is a huge success in Philadelphia."
The NFL Draft has become one of the most anticipated sports events of the year. Round 1 of the 2015 NFL Draft, broadcast live on ESPN and NFL Network, was viewed by 8.3 million fans. More than 1,700 media were accredited to cover the 2016 NFL Draft in Chicago and related events.