The NFL draft is going all-out in Philly when the offseason's biggest event makes a stop in Fairmount in late April.
Draftees will ascend the famous Philadelphia Museum of Art "Rocky" steps to shake Commissioner Roger Goodell's hand as fans watch inside a temporary 2,000-seat theater that will stretch from the podium to the Franklin Institute along Ben Franklin Parkway.
The theater will includea gigantic NFL Draft Experience exhibit.
“We are thrilled to bring our largest fan festival ever, spanning the size of 25 football fields, to Philadelphia,” PeterO’Reilly, the NFL senior vice president of events, said in a ceremony Tuesday. “Thanks to our partnership with the city of Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Eagles and the Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau, we are bringing more interactive attractions to the NFL Draft Experience and creating life-long memories that fans will never forget.”
The Eagles will have the 14th or 15th pick — pending a coin flip with the Colts later this week — and Birds fans will no doubt pack the area from April 27-29. Tickets are expected to be very difficult to get and most will restrict fans to the NFL Experience grounds.
Even so, the city is enthused to be on the national stage once again.
“We stand ready to welcome visitors and residents to this one-of-a-kind experience,” Mayor JimKenney said. “Philadelphia received international praise as an excellent host for both the pope and the Democratic National Convention, and we are very excited to add the NFL to our guest list.”
The draft will bring with it as many highlights as headaches, as the art museum area will be unpassableprior to and after the draft. But the benefits, according to the organizers, are hard to deny.
“We are excited to welcome 200,000 football fans to Philadelphia this April who will generate an estimated $80 million in economic impact for our city,” said visitors bureau President & CEO JulieCoker Graham. “The NFL draft is truly a great opportunity for Philadelphia to shine on the national and international stage, and we are working alongside our hospitality partners to ensure that fans far and wide make the trip for this exciting event.”
Offerings for fans at the NFL Experience include:
- Combine Corner — From racing against NFL players to running routes, fans can test their football and athletic skills at Combine Corner, which includes the vertical jump and 40-yard dash.
- NFL virtual reality — Experience NFL games using virtual reality technology.
- The Vince Lombardi Trophy — Fans will have the opportunity to take their photo with the Super Bowl trophy.
- AFC & NFC Locker Rooms — Visit a replica NFL locker room as it appears on game day. Experience the sights of an NFL pregame with sleek translucent LCDs.
- NFL Museum (Pro Football Hall of Fame display area) — This exhibit features historic Eagles memorabilia, Super Bowl rings and conference championship trophies. Fans can get a digitalized Pro Football Hall of Fame bronze bust in their likeness.
- College Football Corner — Fans can view College Football Hall of Fame memorabilia from former first round draft picks and Eagles legends, and cheer on draft prospects from their favorite college team. Life-size player mannequins offer unique photo opportunities.
- NFL Draft Experience Tailgate — Enjoy selections from some of Philadelphia’s best restaurants in a “taste of the town” tailgate.
- NFL Network set — Watch NFL Network analysts break down the NFL draft.
- ESPN set — Check out SportsCenter LIVE from NFL Draft Experience.
- NFL Shop at draft — Stop by for the largest assortment of NFL draft merchandise, including customizable Nike jerseys and the official 2017 NFL draft cap by New Era and other exclusive draft caps.
- NFL draft set — Visit the official NFL draft set from Thursday to Saturday and see the view from behind the podium.