DETROIT (FOX 2) – The NFL has made Detroit the pick – to host the picks. Detroit has been tapped to host the 2024 NFL Draft and with that comes an economic shot in the arm.
Dates for the draft have not been set, but the plan is to have it staged in Campus Martius Park and Hart Plaza with other events Downtown.
“It brings us money, especially coming out of Covid – which decimated this city – and half the restaurants and small businesses that haven’t come back or will never come back,” said Grace Keros. “Things are still not back to where they were around here.”
Keros owns the world-famous American Coney Island which, like most other bars, restaurants, and small businesses, is still recovering from the pandemic.
“This city is dying for something like that,” she said. “They are so looking forward to something big – and boom.”
Detroit could see hundreds of thousands of people in the city for the three-day event, according to Lions President Rod Wood. The expectation is that they’ll lodge at our hotels, splurge in our shops and fill up at our bars and restaurants.
“That increased traffic is going to give us an opportunity to stay gainfully employed, keep team members on,” said Godwin Ihentuge.
Ihentuge owns Yum Village – an Afro-Caribbean restaurant in New Center. He’s well aware of the impact a high profile event like the draft will have on small businesses in Detroit.
He recently opened a restaurant in Cleveland that saw a surge in sales revenue during this year’s NBA all-star weekend.
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“That weekend was the equivalent of what we did for the first two or three months of opening,” he said.
Speaking of Cleveland, it hosted last year’s NFL Draft which had a $42 million economic impact on the region despite being hampered by Covid restrictions.
“Imagine what’s going to happen now that for the last two years, and that was Cleveland a year ago, things are open now pretty much. I mean we’re still in a pandemic, endemic whatever you want to call it, to a point,” Keros said.
FOX 2: “We’re going to clear $42 million easy?”
“Oh, no problem. Yeah. Absolutely,” she said.
“We all need a piece of that,” said Erik Olson, Thomas Magee’s Sporting House Whiskey Bar. “Everybody deserves it, man. Tough cities survive and that’s what we did, and everybody deserves a piece of that.”
Before the era of Covid, masks, and lockdowns, the NFL Draft brought big bucks to host cities. The three-day event had $125 million impact on Dallas in 2018 and a $224 million impact on Nashville the following year.
“Winning breeds winning and if we get more events then it just adds to the ability for us to host even more events,” said Claude Molinari, President/CEO of Visit Detroit. “Because people want to go where they say, ‘Hey there’s a successful event,’ why aren’t we going there? That’s what we’re trying to build here, that (fear of missing out) which says if the NFL is choosing Detroit, maybe we should be choosing Detroit.”
Godwin Ihentuge, Yum Village