The Indianapolis Colts submitted two “expression of interest” documents to the league office—one to host the NFL Draft in 2025 or 2027 and another to keep the NFL Scouting Combine, an event it has held for the past 35 years.
It was announced in June that the NFL would open up the scouting combine for cities to bid on hosting rights, beginning in 2023, much like they decided to do with the NFL Draft five years ago. The city of Indianapolis refuses to go down without a fight to maintain one of the largest events on the league calendar. Indiana Sports Corp has been involved ‘extensively’ in discussions and company president Ryan Vaughn has been publicly outspoken about keeping the combine in Indy.
“The NFL—with the draft, the Super Bowl and the combine—constantly wants to do something different or better, and so do we,” Vaughn said in a statement. “We have a history of delivering on that desire, so that’s how we framed it in our short expression of interest. Obviously a much larger bid—if we’re invited back to offer a more formal bid—would be where we start to spell those things out.”
The NFL asked all teams interested in hosting either of the events to provide a high-level overview of their facilities and potential partnerships, as well a description of up to 1,000 words discussing how each city would try to enhance the events.
The league is only considering markets for the combine that meet the following criteria:
— The ability to host the combine at least two consecutive years.
— More than 500,000 square feet of indoor space for a fan-experience area.
— A partnership with a local hospital that can handle extensive medical testing.
— At least 3,000 hotel rooms near combine activities.
Many city officials have rallied around the efforts to secure the rights to host the draft or combine, including Visit Indy vice president Chris Gahl. “We reference innovations that we can make and community activations we can do, but it’s not spelled out in any detail because there’s just no room,” he said. “It’s more about saying, ‘We know these things are important to you. They’re important to us, too, and historically we’ve been able to deliver on innovations.’”
It will be interesting to see how the bidding unfolds, as more cities enter the fray. Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has already let his intent be known that he would love to host the NFL Scouting Combine. The Green Bay Packers also intend to submit plans to host the draft or combine as well. There is sure to be plenty of competition.
In the NFL, winner goes the spoil to he who is willing to shell the most coin.