It was one of the worst kept secrets in town, but today the NFL made it official: the 2017 NFL Draft will take place in Philadelphia.
The event will take place from April 27-29 in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Perhaps most interesting to fans is the transformation of the Ben Franklin Parkway into a unique fan experience, dubbed the "NFL DRAFT EXPERIENCE PRESENTED BY DANNON OIKOS TRIPLE ZERO." It was all-caps per the official press release, so it's probably a pretty serious experience.
The league made the official announcement this afternoon at an event at the Art Museum that featured NFL Senior Vice President of Events Peter O'Reilly, Mayor Jim Kenney, and Eagle great Ron Jaworski.
"We are thrilled to bring our largest fan festival ever, spanning the size of twenty-five football fields, to Philadelphia," said O'Reilly. "Thanks to our partnership with the City of Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Eagles, and the Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau, we are bringing more interactive attractions to the NFL Draft Experience and creating life-long memories that fans will never forget."
"We stand ready to welcome visitors and residents to this one-of-a-kind experience," said Mayor Kenney. "Philadelphia received international praise as an excellent host for both the Pope and the Democratic National Convention, and we are very excited to add the NFL to our guest list."
They said they expect aproximately 200,000 fans through to enjoy the experience.
Complete coverage of the Philadelphia Eagles and their NFL rivals from NBC Sports Philadelphia.
Here's a detailed list of what it entails per the NFL release:
NFL Draft Experience hours of operation are: Thursday, April 27: Noon to 11 PM; Friday, April 28: Noon to 11 PM; and Saturday, April 29: 10 AM to 6 PM.
Among the NFL Draft Experience fan events:
· Combine Corner – From racing against NFL players to running routes, fans can test their football and athletic skills at Combine Corner, which includes the Vertical Jump and 40-Yard Dash.
· NFL Virtual Reality – Experience NFL games using virtual reality technology.
· The Vince Lombardi Trophy – Fans will have the opportunity to take their photo with the Super Bowl trophy.
· AFC & NFC Locker Rooms – Visit a replica NFL locker room as it appears on gameday. Experience the sights of an NFL pregame with sleek translucent LCDs.
· NFL Museum (Pro Football Hall of Fame display area) – This exhibit features historical Eagles memorabilia, Super Bowl rings and Conference Championship trophies. Fans can get a digitalized Pro Football Hall of Fame bronze bust in their likeness.
· College Football Corner – Fans can view College Football Hall of Fame memorabilia from former first round Draft picks and Eagles legends, and cheer on Draft prospects from their favorite college team. Life size player mannequins offer unique photo opportunities.
· NFL Draft Experience Tailgate – Enjoy selections from some of Philadelphia's best restaurants in a "taste of the town" tailgate.
· NFL Network Set – Watch NFL Network analysts break down the NFL Draft.
· ESPN Set – Check out SportsCenter LIVE from NFL Draft Experience.
· NFL Shop at Draft – Stop by for the largest assortment of NFL Draft merchandise, including customizable Nike Jerseys and the official 2017 NFL Draft Cap by New Era and other exclusive Draft caps.
· NFL Draft Set – Visit the official NFL Draft set from Thursday to Saturday and see the view from behind the podium.