Denver Broncos President Joe Ellis was in New York this week in part to discuss with NFL officials -- including NFL commissioner Roger Goodell -- the City of Denver’s desire to host the draft in the league’s 100th season of 2019.
Although considerable work has already been done on Denver’s bid, the process is in the preliminary stage. If Denver does host the NFL draft in 2019, Civic Center Park would likely be used for a fan rally with the draft itself likely taking place in the Bellco Theater inside the Colorado Convention Center.
The Broncos and City of Denver also considered hosting the draft in 2017 and 2018 but are encountered scheduling conflicts.
“We’re very eager to pursue hosting the NFL Draft,” Broncos spokesperson Patrick Smyth said. “The next few drafts unfortunately don’t align perfectly with the football calendar, but 2019 shapes up well.’’
The league had been conducting its draft in New York City for 50 consecutive years until deciding in 2015 to offer up the event to other cities. Chicago will host the three-day draft in late April for a second consecutive year.
Downtown Denver has the appropriate number of hotels and modern transportation system to accommodate such a national event. In recent years, the city has hosted a World Series, a Major League Baseball All-Star Game, two Stanley Cup Finals, an NBA Conference Final, a World Cup qualifier game and two AFC Championship Games.
“We realize the draft is one of the premier events of the year and Denver is great at hosting high-profile events,’’ Mathew Payne, executive director of the Denver Sports Commission, said. “We feel that Denver would make a perfect host. We have sophisticated football fans in Denver and confident that the city and the region would come out in big numbers. There is still a lot of work to do on this, but we feel that when we can get the NFL to come in for a site inspection that we can tell the right story and win the right to be host.”
The Broncos just played in the 50th Super Bowl. Why not host one of the NFL’s premier events in a historic year?
“That will be the league’s 100th season,’’ Smyth said. “We hope one of its signature events -- the NFL Draft – can be held right here in Denver. We’re excited about that possibility and this opportunity.’’