Plans for NFL Draft in Cleveland transfer ahead, stay versatile amid coronavirus considerations


CLEVELAND (WJW) – With the 2021 NFL Draft in Cleveland now less than 100 days away, organizers say plans for a live lakefront event are moving forward but remain flexible amid US uncertainties pandemic.

Demolition Approved as Cleveland Looks Towards the 2021 NFL Draft

The draft is scheduled to begin on April 29th.

“They’re still hoping for a big live event,” said David Gilbert, President and CEO of the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission, of the NFL.

He said a large lakefront outdoor event is still planned, even as the coronavirus and unsafe health guidelines create new challenges.

“What needs to be done now is very different planning for several scenarios. And then, based on where we are at different times, you can pull the trigger, ”Gilbert said.

On Thursday, Independence Excavating crews were preparing to demolish two warehouses north of the FirstEnergy Stadium at the port on the north coast.

Kevin Kelley, president of Cleveland City Council, said the city is paying around $ 700,000 for the demolition to make room for the design. He said demolition work is expected to start this week.

Gilbert said the NFL is planning a large outdoor footprint that will be free but has limited time access to control the number of people.

“What that number is has yet to be determined based on where we stand,” he said.

An NFL spokesman said planning for the draft would continue.

“As the league has gone through the entire pandemic, we will remain flexible and adaptable to ensure all plans are in line with CDC and local health guidelines,” the spokesman said in a statement to FOX 8 News.

Gilbert said health precautions will be a critical part of the event.

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“No matter what is done and how it is done, that must be on everyone’s lips in the first place,” he said.

While the draft won’t look like the big Nashville street party held in 2019, and the associated economic impact will be less than hoped, Gilbert said it could still give the struggling hotel industry in downtown Cleveland a necessary boost .

“It will still be something very important, a great community celebration, a national celebration, but it certainly has a lot of complications,” he said.

Gilbert said the NFL should also use what it learned from the upcoming Super Bowl to formulate plans for the draft as it approaches.

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