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New York Could Lose 2015 NFL Draft

NFL
According to news reports, New York City is probably out of the running to host the 2015 NFL Draft, which means the odds of the annual event coming to Los Angeles has likely increased. (Thinkstock)

The odds of Los Angeles landing the 2015 NFL Draft just increased a tad. Sure, the NFL Draft is not an NFL franchise, but the initial shoe might have dropped on June 6, potentially opening the door for the professional football league to make its first official presence in Los Angeles in 20 years.

According to ESPN football guru Adam Schefter, New York City is likely out of the running to host the 2015 NFL Draft due to scheduling issues. With the NFL looking to hold next year’s three-day amateur player selection meeting in April or May of next year, a few obstacles have potentially popped up.

Radio City Music Hall, the regular venue for the annual NFL Draft, is reportedly unavailable to the league next spring. The NFL reportedly met on June 6 to consider other venues such as Madison Square Garden. However, the arena is home to NBA (Knicks) and NHL (Rangers) franchises, both of whom would be playing in April and May.

In Brooklyn, the same issue exists for Barclays Center, which is currently home to the NBA’s Nets. (The NHL’s Islanders move into Barclays Center will happen in October 2015, a few months after next year’s NFL Draft).

The NFL hinted it would be considering moving the date of the 2015 NFL Draft to sometime in late April. This year’s NFL Draft was held May 8 through 10 at Radio City Music Hall.

Schefter reported on June 6 the NFL is looking at having the next player draft in either New York City, Chicago, or Los Angeles – though the potential scheduling issues noted above make the Big Apple unlikely to serve as the host city in 2015.

The NFL also reported it is considering other cities, as well, including Boston, Dallas, Houston, Nashville, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh.

No overtures were publicly made by the NFL about the likelihood of the 2015 Draft being held outside of New York City, but Los Angeles has made it clear it is interesting in having the three-day event come to L.A. Live next year.

On May 13, the Los Angeles City Council unanimously supported a resolution to support Mayor Eric Garcetti’s efforts to bring the NFL’s annual player selection meeting to the nation’s second largest media market.

The first round of the 2014 NFL Draft was held May 8 and, according to the NFL, drew a record television audience of more than 45.7 million viewers during the three-day event.

First round coverage of the 2014 NFL Draft, which was televised on ESPN and the NFL Network, drew a television audience of 32 million viewers, up 28 percent from last year’s 25 million viewers.

If the 2015 NFL Draft does come to Los Angeles next spring, it would likely be held at L.A. Live, which is home to the 7,100-seat Nokia Theatre.

The Downtown Los Angeles venue across the street from Staples Center is similar to but larger than the 6,000-seat Radio City Music Hall. Also at L.A. Live is home the Los Angeles base of ESPN; nightly telecasts of ESPN’s “SportsCenter” are televised from the network’s L.A. Live studios.

In addition to several hotels and restaurants either directly adjacent or within walking distance of the Nokia Theatre, the venue is also directly across the street from where AEG once proposed to build the 68,000-seat Farmers Field. A website for the stadium states the venue would be ready by 2016, though it is unclear whether construction on Farmers Field would actually begin before the NFL commits to either relocating a franchise from another city or granting Los Angeles an expansion team.

There is also no indication that having the 2015 NFL Draft in Los Angeles would pave the way for the league to return to the nation’s second largest media market with a franchise.

Still, Los Angeles serving as host of the 2015 NFL Draft could have a windfall in areas such as Hollywood and the Westside, particularly with so many hotels, nightclubs, restaurants, and other entertainment-related venues between West Hollywood and the Pacific Ocean that could benefit from the nation’s most popular spectator sport coming to town with a three-day event.

Los Angeles has been without an NFL franchise since the Raiders and Rams left for Oakland and St. Louis, respectively, in the mid-1990s.

The last NFL-sponsored event in the Los Angeles area was Jan. 31, 1993, when Super Bowl XXVII was held at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif., and the Dallas Cowboys defeated the Buffalo Bills, 52-17.Eric

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