While Chicago will bask in the media spotlight when its hosts the NFL Draft this spring, the marquee event will be taking over the city a lot longer than just a single day. The Tribune is reporting that the the league will take over much of Grant Park, as well as Congress Parkway between Michigan and Wabash avenues between April 24 and May 6. Many details are still to be finalized, but the closure has already affected the Polish Constitution Day Parade, scheduled for May 2 and expecting a crowd of 25,000, which has been rerouted.
While the actual main draft will be taking place within the Auditorium Theatre, the event will be fanning out across the city and park with additions such as Draft Town, a 900,000 square-foot interactive fan area with more than a dozen football fields and a Super Bowl Museum; Selection Square, where teams will set up shop during the event and the media will conduct interviews facing the Grant Park crowd; and youth football clinics. The city has even made plans to light up Buckingham Fountain in the colors of each team as they make their selections.
Of course, there's a massive tab for this event that someone will have to pick up, and the NFL has already asked for many city services to be complimentary. Rahm has pledged that no taxpayer dollars will be spent on the draft, but Choose Chicago, the local tourism agency, has suggested it might need to raise money to cover the $3-$4 million needed to pay for the event. Since this is our rookie year hosting the draft, perhaps Chicago can work out some kind of signing bonus to cover the cost?
·NFL draft records reveal more details: Parade rerouted, road closures [Chicago Tribune]
·Previous Grant Park coverage [Curbed Chicago]