The NFL draft is about to take the Windy City by storm. After 51 years in New York, the draft has a new home in Chicago this year. While the draft is still a couple of weeks away, construction begins next week on NFL’s Draft Town. When its finished, draft town will equal 15 football fields in size!
The Auditorium Theatre will be transformed for the NFL Network and ESPN to operate with separate platforms. As well, people will start noticing several structures going up in Grant Park. One arched structure will mark the place of team tables. This will be where the teams call in their draft picks. Another arched structure will mark the location of NFL Network and ESPN.
Lots of activities are planned to show off the league and help entertain the thousands of fans expected to converge on Grant Park. Fans will get the chance to take their picture with Vince Lombardi’s Super Bowl Trophy, as well as browse through all of the Super Bowl rings and Bears memorabilia. Fans can also expect football clinics, and of course, food chosen especially by famed Chicago restaurateur and chef Graham Elliot.
If you want to get in the game yourself, you can! Well, flag football, that its. The NFL FLAG Football Festival is open to adults and kids ages nine and older. Hutchinson Field, located on the southern edge of Grant Park, is the location for the event. Young football fans can also take part in a number of youth football clinics, alongside NFL legends and local coaches.
Another event sure to bring in the crowds is the tunnel skydiving simulator. Designed to make fans feel like they’re flying like Bears legend Walter Payton, the simulator will be nicknamed the “sweetness simulator”.
The draft runs from April 30-May 2, with the top 26 prospects expected to receive selections on days one and two. While it’s free to get into the Auditorium Theatre and Selection Square, seating in both locations is limited. To get in, you have to already have been awarded a ticket through the online ticket lottery.
Draft Town is open to the public, plus it’s free to walk around. You may find yourself in the midst of celebrities. Famous faces expected to attend include Jim Kelly, Charles Haley and Dick Butkus, among others.