Colts, Metropolis expresses curiosity in internet hosting the NFL draft and retains the mix in Indy

Indianapolis officially throws its hat in the ring to host a future NFL draft, while also trying to keep the league’s scouting combine that has called the city home for nearly 35 years.

The Indianapolis Colts filed two “expression of interest” documents – one for each event – with the league’s corporate offices before the July 23 deadline, after extensive discussions with Indiana Sports Corp., Visit Indy, and city officials.

Submissions should host the Scout Combine from 2023 to 2027 (all available years) and the draft in either 2025 or 2027

Visit Indy was responsible for writing the expression of interest for the combine, while Indiana Sports Corp. drafted the pitch for the draft. Officials from the Capital Improvement Board of Marion County, which operates the Indiana Convention Center and Lucas Oil Stadium, were also involved in the process.

“The Colts are our quarterback – they are our relationship manager, they are the linchpin in making sure everything we submit has the right tone and approach,” said Chris Gahl, vice president of Visit Indy.

Both expressions of interest are a first step in a formal application process that the league will start with top candidates in the coming months.

The NFL asked all teams interested in any of the events to provide a general overview of their facilities and potential partnerships, as well as a description of up to 1,000 words explaining how each city would try to improve the events.

The league only considers markets for the combine that meet the following criteria:

– The possibility of housing the combine harvester for at least two consecutive years.

– More than 500,000 square meters of indoor space for a fan experience area.

– A partnership with a local hospital that can perform extensive medical tests.

– At least 3,000 hotel rooms near Combine activities.

The Colts, Visit Indy, and Indiana Sports Corp. each refused to provide full copies of the expressions of interest, fearing that this could give potential competitors an advantage.

The President of Sports Corp. However, Ryan Vaughn said the proposals build on the city’s previous success in hosting hundreds of sporting events, including the Combine since 1987.

“The NFL – with the Draft, the Super Bowl, and the Combine – is constantly trying to do something different or better, and so do we,” said Vaughn. “We have a tradition of fulfilling this wish, and that’s how we formulated it in our brief expression of interest. Obviously, a much bigger offering – if we’re invited again to make a more formal offer – would be the place where we start to spell these things. “

He said the expression of interest for both events also highlighted areas that local officials believe are key areas for the NFL, such as:

“We point to innovations that we can do and community activations that we can do, but it is not detailed because there is simply no room for it,” he said. “It’s more about saying, ‘We know these things are important to you. They are important to us too, and in the past we have been able to deliver innovations. ‘”

Visit Indy’s Gahl said for the Combine in particular that the focus is on growing the event for fans without losing the appeal of the event for NFL executives, who have often highlighted how easy it is to get around town and Venues to have in a short time stroll from hotels. He said the filing also highlights the NFL’s longstanding partnership with Indiana University Health.

“While we have managed to increase the fan-centric portion of the combine, we believe that the heartbeat of this event must continue to be on the athletes and teams capable of making important decisions for which they are come here. ”Said Gahl, adding that the city“ has the space ”it needs to further enhance the fan experience.

“Our intention to continue the process of keeping the combine safe and healthy also fixes on the fact that the quality of the fan experience is more important than the quantity,” said Gahl. “While we’re not ready to give all the details of those 1,000 words, it focuses on the uniqueness of … all under one roof. It’s almost as if a fan can experience it through the same lens as those who work closely with the combine. “

In addition to opening the Combine to bidding, the NFL has also sought the cities’ interest in the draft. The league is reviewing bids for 2025 through 2029 and is asking for a similar footprint – 500,000 square feet – although some design events were held outdoors in cities like Las Vegas, Nashville, and Cleveland

Vaughn said while Indianapolis officials have shown interest in the direction of the draft in the past, this marks the first time it can provide the league with additional context for their vision for such an event. The city has long considered pursuing the draft, including in 2019 when officials told IBJ that they wanted to make an offer at the next opportunity.

The NFL said in June it would switch to a bidding process for the Combine instead of committing to a long-term renewal in Indianapolis. This decision, first reported by IBJ, was made to appease team owners with a desire to host the Combine and give fans more opportunities to connect with the league’s future stars.

The application process will allow teams from across the league to apply to host the Combine – which acts as a sort of interview for more than 300 college football players – much like the teams already do for the Super Bowl and Draft .

So far, only Dallas has expressed a desire to host the Combine, but cities like Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Atlanta and Minneapolis should also be interested in the event.

Brian McCarthy, an NFL spokesman, said there was “significant interest from clubs across the country” in hosting events like the Combine and Draft, but added that the league does not share details about how many teams are in the fields were sent.

He said that league officials “will soon begin assessing next steps and how to proceed”.

In none of the documents committed city tourism officials to specific financial incentives for hosting the event, but Vaughn said there was a general understanding that a financial commitment “at a certain level” would be discussed as part of a more in-depth application process.

It’s not clear how much the NFL pays to rent space at the Indiana Convention Center or Lucas Oil Stadium. The base rental price for the space used in the convention center in 2020 was about $ 100,000, but portions of the public agreements between the league and the Capital Improvement Board have been revised, suggesting that the price was likely lowered through sub-negotiations.

By comparison, the NCAA’s base rent for the duration of the men’s basketball tournament earlier this year was about $ 1.2 million, but the organization contracted city officials to pay only about $ 84,000 for the room .

“There is no direct commitment – no statement – that we will provide an amount of X dollars for these events,” said Vaughn of the documents submitted.

“It was really about conceiving and selling the city and selling innovation, with Team Indy’s full understanding that there would be some level of commitment at some level,” when the NFL decides to have discussions about the direction to record one of the two events in Indianapolis.

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