Preparations underway for NFL draft in Cleveland, here’s what fans can expect

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CLEVELAND (WJW) — With the NFL draft in Cleveland about two months away, plans are being finalized for a large, in-person event, with the Super Bowl providing a blue print for organizers.

Two large warehouses in North Coast Harbor have now been demolished to create more space for Draft events.

The Draft is scheduled to be held from April 29 to May 1.

“We feel really good about where it’s going,” Greater Cleveland Sports Commission President and CEO David Gilbert said.

“The plan is to have as much as possible live and in person.”

Gilbert said the Draft and accompanying fan experience will take place across a large footprint along North Coast Harbor, extending to the field inside First Energy Stadium, allowing for social distancing.

“That’s what’s going to allow it to still be a great, safe event for an awful lot of people,” Gilbert said.

He said organizers including the NFL are using lessons learned from the Super Bowl in Tampa to guide planning for the Draft.

The fan experience there was free but gated with timed ticketing to control crowd size.

“Lots and lots of people attended, and they were able to do it in a spaced and safe manner, and we expect the same thing here,” Gilbert said.

He said the event provided a boost to Tampa’s economy, with hotel capacity there reaching 93 percent.

Destination Cleveland is planning a marketing campaign in other NFL markets to encourage fans to travel to Cleveland for the Draft.

“It’s really a strength of ours, the fact that we’re within an eight-hour drive of half the NFL markets,” Gilbert said.

Organizers said more announcements are expected in the coming weeks regarding final plans, including information on tickets.

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