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The NFL Draft in Indianapolis? Don't Rule It Out

As draft becomes more of a fan event, league has been shuffling host cities

Indianapolis is keeping an eye peeled for a chance to host the NFL draft.

The Super Bowl has a rigid bid process, but the draft doesn't -- until a couple of years ago, it was always in New York. It's become more of a fan event in Chicago and Philadelphia. That's gotten the attention of other NFL cities, including Indianapolis. Indiana Sports Corporation president Ryan Vaughn says the city has let the league know it's potentially interested. Staff members attending this year's draft took notes on the activities Philly put together for fans, and what would work in Indy.

Vaughn says Indy won't make a final decision on bidding or work up a detailed proposal until the NFL confirms it's looking for a host city. But he says an Indianapolis bid would lean on the same selling points it's used for the Final Four and the Big Ten football championship: a compact downtown with plenty of places to hold fan activities.

According to Vaughn, a proposal would likely include activities on Georgia Street, which runs from the Colts' Lucas Oil Stadium at its western end to the Pacers' Bankers Life Fieldhouse on the east. Depending on what the league wants, Indy could also make use of the Convention Center, White River State Park, and the stadiums themselves.

It's not clear when or whether the NFL will move the draft from Philadelphia, but Vaughn says he gets the sense the league wants to move it around every couple of years. That would put it in Philly again next year. 

With several NFL cities within driving distance, Vaughn says the draft would bring a surge of visitors to downtown hotels and restaurants, and would boost Indy's national visibility, just as hosting the Super Bowl in 2012 did. Indy bid unsuccessfully for next year's Super Bowl.

(Photo: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

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