For the first time in NFL history, the draft is going to be held at an actual NFL stadium, which means there’s going to be a lot of room at AT&T Stadium for the league to put on a show later this month.
“The 2018 NFL Draft represents our most ambitious vision yet, and we are thrilled to take the event to another level this year for our fans, incoming players, and teams,” O’Reilly said in a statement. “By collaborating closely with the Dallas Cowboys and the Dallas Sports Commission, we are creating a record number of free experiences and enabling the largest live audience ever to view the NFL Draft.”
With the draft less than three weeks away, let’s take a quick look at what the NFL is planning for the 83rd annual event. For one, the actual stage — where you’ll see Roger Goodell hand out numerous hugs — is going to be on the field.
If you look at that rendering, you’ll notice that the hundreds of tiny people in the picture are wearing multiple colors and that’s because each team is going to have its own section. All 32 teams will have an “inner circle” where their biggest fans can watch all the action just feet away from the main stage.
NFL Draft historian Gil Brandt, who helps the league put on the event, told MMQB.com this week that it’s going to be the best draft ever.
“This is going to be the most talked-about draft in history. And not just because quarterbacks could go one through four, or four of the top five picks. But this will be an incredible extravaganza,” Brandt said. “For years to come, people will compare every draft to Dallas. The saying Everything’s bigger in Texas will definitely apply. We’ll have sections all over the stadium for all 32 teams, and it’ll be like a competition between all the teams and their fans.”
Fans not lucky enough to score tickets on the field will be given seats in the lower bowl of AT&T Stadium. Here’s the view Goodell will have when he takes the stage on April 26.
After the first three rounds are complete on Thursday and Friday, April 26 and 27, the NFL is going to open up the inside of the stadium on Saturday so that fans can get a first-hand look at the stage where the early rounds were held.
Of course, that’s just the inside of the stadium.
The outside of the stadium is also going to get pretty crazy with the NFL Draft experience. According to the NFL, the draft experience will span “the size of nearly 26 football fields.” It will also include multiple games and fans will even get to go through their own mini-combine if they want.
Here’s a look at what will be going on outside the stadium during the draft.
If you can’t make it to the draft, don’t worry, there will be plenty of ways for you to watch.
For the first time ever, the draft is going to air on network television with both Fox and ABC broadcasting certain parts of the draft. The first two rounds of the draft will air on ESPN/ESPN2, Fox and the NFL Network.
For the final four rounds, Fox will drop out and hand things off to ABC. The 2018 NFL Draft kicks off at 8 p.m. ET on April 26 with the first round. That will be followed by Rounds 2 and 3 on April 27, and then Rounds 4-7 on April 28.