‘Mission Accomplished': NFL Draft to Return to Chicago for 2016

The 2015 draft marked the first time in 51 years the event was held outside New York

Chicago will once again host the NFL Draft.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced the decision Tuesday afternoon during the NFL’s league meeting.

"When we were here for the draft last year the mayor met me, we walked through all the facilities and he said to me, 'I have one objective this year, which is when you get on that plane, you go home you say everything went great, better than expected and you want to come back,'" Goodell said during the announcement. "Well, mayor, mission accomplished."

The draft is scheduled to take place in May 2016, officials said. While a fan festival will once again be held in Grant Park, Peter O'Reilly, senior vice president of events for the NFL, said a venue has not yet been determined. 

"You’ve made the Second City the first choice again," Emanuel said. "And the NFL draft is a world class event and I'm proud that they picked a world class city like the city of Chicago."

Officials said the 2015 NFL draft was an exciting year for the event.

"The success we had last year I think set a new bar for the draft," Goodell said. "It set a new opportunity for fans to interact with the NFL, it had a tremendous impact on this community."

Last year marked the seventh year the city hosted the three-day event, but it was also the first time in 51 years the draft had been held outside New York.

"In leaving New York after 51 years we were able in Chicago to take the draft to a new level," O'Reilly said.

There was speculation the league could move the event to another city following Chicago's successful 2015 event. 

Emanuel relentlessly lobbied the NFL to relocate the 2015 event to Chicago, then invested some of his own political capital to make sure things run smoothly.

An estimated 200,000 visitors attended the "Draft Town" fan festival in Grant Park earlier this year. 

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