The NFL decided last week to cancel the public events portion of the NFL draft in Las Vegas because of concerns over the coronavirus pandemic.
In doing so, it likely meant Las Vegas was completely out as a host for the league’s annual selection show, which has grown into a three-day event that travels from city to city each year.
That possibility became a reality this past week upon the NFL deciding the draft will become a made-for-TV studio show event this year, according to a person with knowledge of the league’s thinking.
The Los Angeles Times was first to report that the league will not have any draft events in Las Vegas.
The NFL’s plans call for a New York studio show with cut-ins from team headquarters when the club is making a selection.
Given the fluidity of the coronavirus outbreak, the report said the NFL’s plans have not been finalized for what the studio show might look like.
Usually about 20 to 30 players are invited to the event to shake hands with commissioner Roger Goodell once they’re drafted and then meet with the media.
With the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendation of no gatherings of more than 50 people for at least eight weeks, it seems unlikely that players would be a part of the studio show from wherever it originates.
The draft was to be the first major NFL event in Las Vegas, the new home of the Raiders. The team will play at Allegiant Stadium, scheduled to open this summer.
Las Vegas could be an option for the 2022 draft, which remains open after the NFL awarded Cleveland the 2021 draft and Kansas City the 2023 draft.
Goodell mentioned it in his state of the league address in January at the Super Bowl, but said the focus was on Las Vegas hosting the 2020 draft “before we focus on the Super Bowl.”
He insisted it was only a matter of time before the decision was made.
“But that is coming quickly, and our attempt to move to the next Super Bowl probably will be done before the end of the calendar year here.”
Vincent Bonsignore contributed to this report.