Chicago will transform to the center of the football universe very soon. On Tuesday, leaders from the NFL and the city offered a preview of what to expect when the draft comes to town.
In just four weeks, the NFL draft will once again return to Chicago, and this year’s draft experience will offer even more.
“With a second year we have a second chance and that means bigger and better, and more ways to engage fans,” said Chicago Sports Commission executive director Kara Bachman.
Last year, more than 200,000 people visited the new draft experience for pro-football fans, which included a free-family venue known as “Draft Town.” The attraction allowed fans to test their football skills - from kicking a field goal to running a 40-yard dash against a virtual NFL player.
Peter O'Reilly, the NFL's senior vice president of events, said this year the league will add even more.
“You will see even more kids and family activities out here where they can touch and feel the game. We’re building a massive Ferris wheel that will be just fun and will showcase each car wrapped in a different team logo,” O'Reilly said.
The NFL and the city both said the 2015 “Draft Town” experience turned out to be a success, and had an $86 million dollar economic impact for the city.
Other cities tried to steal the draft, but the NFL said Chicago offered the best venue for its fans.
“Chicago showcased the passion of our game in a way that we had never seen around the draft before so coming back here was an opportunity to not only reward the city and those fans for that but also build on that success,” O'Reilly said.