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Mayor Rahm Emanuel today celebrated the successful completion of the 2015 NFL Draft, which was hosted by Chicago for the first time in 50 years.
“This week, the residents of Chicago showed the true spirit of our city by being world-class hosts for the NFL Draft,” said Mayor Emanuel. “While the NFL Draft put our skyline in the spotlight, it was Chicagoans who showed why our city is the perfect home for marquee events. I want to thank the countless people whose efforts made this great event possible, including the NFL prospects, city workers, public safety staff, Choose Chicago and the Chicago Sports Commission.”
The 2015 NFL Draft was held at the historic Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University, and for the first time, included an outdoor element to allow for more people to take part in the festivities. Congress Plaza hosted Selection Square, home of the 32 Draft tables, and Grant Park was transformed into Draft Town, a free, three-day outdoor interactive fan football festival that stretched the size of 15 football fields.
"We want to thank the Bears, the city of Chicago, Mayor Emanuel, Choose Chicago, Chicago Sports Commission, Chicago Park District and the hundreds of volunteers for their hard work and hospitality to our fans, players and teams," said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. " A big thank you goes to everyone that contributed. You exceeded our expectations and turned Chi-Town into Draft Town for the 200,000 fans who joined in our festivities."
According to the NFL, a total of 200,000 people visited the event over the three day period.
"I also want to thank the Joffrey and Roosevelt University for being team players and working with the City to accommodate this spectacular event," said Mayor Emanuel.
While data regarding the economic impact of the event is not yet available, the event is expected to bring in millions of dollars in free publicity in addition to the economic benefits stemming from tourism.
"It is events such as the NFL Draft that will help us reach Mayor Emanuel's annual visitation goal of 55 million by 2020," said Don Welsh, Choose Chicago President and CEO. "On behalf of the Chicago Sports Commission and Choose Chicago, we thank the NFL for their partnership and enthusiasm in creating a memorable experience not only for our teams, but for visitors and Chicagoans too."