Populous Continues to Expand the NFL Draft Footprint Calling New Cities Home

April 25, 2019

From Radio City Music Hall and AT&T Stadium in Dallas to the streets of Nashville this year, the NFL Draft has called various venues and cities home, but one constant through the changes over the years is the sheer excitement surrounding the event. NFL prospects celebrate the achievement of a lifetime, while hope springs eternal for their families, fans and teams.

In 2005, the NFL Draft moved from Madison Square Garden to the Javits Center, requiring a full redesign of the event where the Populous event team was brought in to assist. Since then, behind it all, our dedicated team of event specialists is tasked each year with translating the event’s blueprint to different settings and the challenge has only grown larger.

For the 2019 NFL Draft in Nashville, in an effort to create a more festival-like atmosphere, Populous created the event blueprint from scratch, morphing the draft from a theater showroom where everyone has a seat, to a more concert-like environment with open space to experience all aspects of the event. Populous also designed the media and prospect green room and selection square and  manages all logistics and operations of the event. This includes coordination of all movements and routing for different constituent groups, media operations, contingency planning, wayfinding efforts for the main stage venue and printing all credentials for the event.

This year in Nashville, the draft is taking place in a Populous-designed, temporary venue on the famous strip of lower Broadway, interwoven into the famous honky-tonks that light up the lively street. This completely free event, allows NFL fans to create their own customized experience, listen to over 20 local bands, play games and watch the NFL Draft live through multiple screens set up along the street.

“The unique part of planning the NFL Draft is all of the moving parts and pieces. This isn’t your typical sporting event,” said Bobby Sloan, Associate Principal and Event Manager at Populous. “Our goal was to integrate the event into the Nashville scene, culture and really, the whole vibe, playing up the neon lights and lighting up lower Broadway. Intertwining the NFL Draft into the Nashville culture has been pivotal from day one.”

From humble beginnings in the 1920s, the NFL Draft has grown into a multi-day spectacle that highlights the league’s offseason. Not only does the draft draw on the evolution and history of the event, but also the host city’s energy, which brings the community together and results in a large economic impact for the city.  According to a report compiled by VisitDallas, the 2018 NFL Draft generated $125 million in economic impact — the first year the NFL Draft has generated more than $100 million in economic impact for its host region (VistDallas 2017-2018 Annual Report).

The draft’s continued growth is made possible by the ability to adapt to different cities and sites. With the 2020 NFL Draft scheduled to be hosted in Las Vegas, the Populous event team will continue to design venues that bring the community together and serve as a temporary home for fans to share in the excitement of players’ professional dreams coming true. For more information on the Populous event practice, contact media@populous.com.


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