The 2020 NFL Draft in Las Vegas is scheduled to include a stage on the water in front of the Bellagio Hotel and Casino fountains, with players being brought to the dais by boat for an official red carpet event.
The plan, which was approved by the Clark County Commission on January 21, also involves closing portions of the Las Vegas Strip to traffic for the three days of the Draft, April 23-25, and constructing the main stage next to Caesars Forum.
“Embracing the city’s personality and iconic locations enables us to create an event that captures the spirit and energy of our hosts,” said Peter O’Reilly, the NFL’s executive vice president of club business and league events.
Teams will make their selections at the Caesars Forum conference center in what the league and city are dubbing Selection Square. Caesars Entertainment is an official partner of the NFL.
The three-day event is free to the public and will include the NFL Draft Experience, which will feature games, autograph sessions, a pro shop and special performances. At least 400,000 fans are expected to attend the festivities, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
Approximately 600,000 fans attended the NFL Draft in Nashville in April 2019, smashing the previous record for the event. The Nashville Convention and Visitor Corporation (NCVC) had hoped for around 300,000 visitors but the number far surpassed expectations. Philadelphia held the previous mark of 250,000 over the three days of the 2017 Draft.
All three days of the 2020 Draft will be broadcast on NFL Network, ESPN, ESPN Deportes and ABC, including two nights of primetime coverage on Thursday and Friday.
The Las Vegas Draft comes ahead of the Raiders beginning their first season in the city after moving from Oakland, California.
“The driving factor for the league selecting Las Vegas to host the 2020 draft is the Raiders [and the NFL] entering the market and the Raiders playing their first game there just months later,” O’Reilly said. “The draft is an incredible way to help make a splash in the Raiders’ new home, and while we won’t host the draft itself at the Stadium, we’re working closely with the Raiders to highlight Allegiant Stadium both locally and nationally during each day of the draft.”
The Raiders are expected to make a major announcement in partnership with MGM Resorts International on January 23. The team, meanwhile, has also sold out its personal seat licenses at the forthcoming Allegiant Stadium, further signifying the strength of fan interest around the relocation.