The NFL Had Some Costly Demands for Chicago to Host the Draft

Ryan Glasspiegel

The NFL Draft is relocating from New York to Chicago this year. Anyone with even a modicum of knowledge of how this league operates figured they’d hold up the new host city for gobs of cash. The Chicago Tribune uncovered some of the NFL’s demands, which included blocking off stretches of main streets for almost three weeks, free use of the 3,900-seat Auditorium Theatre venue, police escorts for draft picks and “NFL dignitaries” (whatever that means), enforcement from the City against unauthorized advertising and business activity, indoor and outdoor space for NFL parties and sponsors, “at least” $4 million of promotional signage and materials, and a league option to do the whole shebang again next year.

Because mayor Rahm Emanuel closed the tourism department and this event is being handled by a nonprofit called Choose Chicago, the Tribune was unable to verify which of these demands were agreed to, and what the total cost would be. Choose Chicago CEO Don Welsh estimated that they’d need to raise $3-4 million, and said that “[t]here will be no taxpayer money used.” This statement was echoed by a City spokeswoman, but is supremely hard to believe.

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