(CBS) The 2015 NFL Draft will be held in Chicago, the Chicago Bears confirmed on Twitter Thursday.
The draft will be held at the Auditorium Theatre at Roosevelt University. The draft will be held from April 30-May 2, continuing the recent Thursday-Saturday schedule. The first round will continue to be held Thursday in the primetime evening slot, with the second and third rounds being held Friday and the final four rounds being conducted Saturday.
“We are excited to have fans from throughout the midwest experience the NFL Draft, ” Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement. “We look forward to returning the event to the city of Chicago and working with the city, Choose Chicago, and the Chicago Sports Commission to create a week-long celebration of football for our fans. Mayor Emanuel and the city of Chicago presented us with numerous ways to enhance the Draft experience for our fans and incoming players.”
A source close to the negotiations tells CBS 2 there is a push for a two-year commitment and the second year is in the talking stage. The source also said that there will be an associated fan event in Grant Park.
Los Angeles was the other finalist to host the draft, which was previously held at Radio City Music Hall in New York for the past nine years. In all, the draft has been held in New York for the last 50 years. The last draft not held in New York was also held in Chicago, as the 1964 NFL Draft was conducted at the Sheraton Chicago Hotel on Dec. 2, 1963.
Bringing big events to Chicago has been a goal of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s, and he’s lured this one. He’s also expressed interest in hosting the Super Bowl, but because of the Soldier Field’s small capacity and the brutal winter weather, that’s a long shot.
“Next year, NFL fans from across the country will travel here or tune in as the future of their team is decided in Chicago,” Emanuel said in a statement about the draft announcement. “We look forward to working with the Chicago Bears, the NFL, and our neighborhood partners to make this an event that highlights our world class city and reinvests in our communities.”