Las Vegas has been awarded the 2022 National Football League Draft after the Nevada city was robbed of this year’s event due to the global Covid-19 pandemic.
The news was announced during the first round of the virtual 2020 NFL Draft on April 23, although NFL commissioner Roger Goodell mistakenly said live on air that Las Vegas had been given the 2020 Draft.
Goodell said in a written statement: “I’m pleased to announce that Las Vegas will host the 2022 NFL Draft, where we look forward to holding an even bigger and better event than we could have ever imagined this year. Congratulations to Las Vegas, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, the Raiders’ organization and Raider Nation.”
The location plans announced for the 2020 Draft will remain in place for 2022. This year’s public event was 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 also involved closing portions of the Las Vegas Strip to traffic for the three days of the Draft and constructing the main stage next to Caesars Forum. The event was due to be free to the public and include the NFL Draft Experience, which would have featured games, autograph sessions, a pro shop, and special performances. At least 400,000 fans were expected to attend the festivities.
A 2020 Las Vegas Draft had been scheduled to coincide with the Raiders’ move to Sin City following their arrival from Oakland, California.
It has already been announced that future NFL Drafts will be held in Cleveland (2021) and Kansas City (2023), which opened the door for the event to be held in Las Vegas in 2022.
“We’re thrilled the NFL has given us the opportunity to host the Draft in Las Vegas in 2022. While disappointed we were unable to bring this exciting event to life this year,” said Steve Hill, Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority chief executive officer and president. “We plan to make the 87th annual NFL Draft an Only Vegas experience football fans will never forget.”