NFL Draft in Detroit: A Big Catch with a Bigger Impact

April 10, 2024

The NFL Draft in Detroit shows how events can support communities and their local businesses.


Hundreds of thousands of football fans and members of the media will descend upon Detroit for the 2024 NFL Draft this April, generating hundreds of millions in economic impact and putting Detroit on display for the world to see. 

This exposure makes the NFL Draft in Detroit more than just a football event. It’s a case study of using exciting experiences to keep communities vibrant. Events can showcase a community’s strengths, attract visitors, entertain residents and create an economic windfall for local businesses. 

The NFL Draft is going to do more for our city in terms of economic activity and its national image than any single event in Detroit’s history,” said Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan during the announcement of an information campaign for residents, business owners and fans attending the event. 

Join the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) and The Michigan Opportunity, with host Ed Clemente, to learn about the immediate expected economic impact of hosting the NFL Draft in Detroit, the national spotlight that will showcase the city’s vibrancy and the partnerships that made it possible. 


Image courtesy of Ford Field 


The NFL Draft in Detroit Puts Excellence on Display 

Planning officials expect over 54 million television viewers to watch downtown Detroit during the NFL Draft. It’s a big deal, and one that has cities across the country competing to host the event. Listen to Alexis Wiley, CEO of Moment Strategies, and Rod Wood, president of the Detroit Lions, talk about winning an event that means millions will get a fresh look at Detroit. 

“The increased profile of Detroit, the increased profile of the state of Michigan, I think, has really made us very, very competitive,” said Wiley. “It is a very, very tough competition … this is such a big honor, and such a big opportunity for us to really be, as both Detroit and the state of Michigan, n the national stage to give people a different viewpoint and a glimpse at our city and our state.” 

Listen to the discussion on why this is one of the biggest sporting events since the Super Bowl came to town in 2006, and the work that went into bringing this prestigious event to Detroit. 

Listen to the Michigan Opportunity episode 



Michigan is a World-Class Destination 

From boosting tourism to attracting new business, events are powerhouses for economic growth. Few people know this better than Claude Molinari, president and CEO of Visit Detroit, the city’s arm for attracting visitors to the region. 

“The fact that the National Football League chose Detroit speaks very highly of our destination as a global marketplace. For this league to put this together was really great for our city and our region and our state,” said Molinari. “All eyes in the sports world will be focused on Detroit … we anticipate somewhere in the neighborhood of half a million people from all over the country and Canada, and really all over the world coming in to join Detroit and really having a spectacular time.” 

Learn more about the NFL Draft, and other ways Visit Detroit promotes the region as a convention, business meeting and tourism destination alongside the Detroit and Windsor business community, civic organizations, local government offices and more. 

Listen to the Michigan Opportunity episode 



To Put on a Great Show, Partnerships Matter  

A major event like the NFL Draft doesn’t land in a city without an enormous partner effort to attract the attention of the NFL’s decision-makers. That’s something Howard Handler, president of 313 Presents and former executive of the NFL knows something about. 

“You think about the NFL Draft, how many people have leaned in to make sure that that was something attractive for the NFL, and that this could be great for everybody in and around Detroit,” said Handler. “A lot of other cities might talk about that kind of unity. But I think that we’re living and breathing it here in Detroit.” 

Learn more about 313 Presents’ focus on delivering a world-class experience through partnerships and long-term growth to deliver more than 350 concerts, theatrical productions, sporting events and family shows across its portfolio of venues each year. 

Listen to the Michigan Opportunity episode 


Learn More About Events that Drive Economic Development 

Downtowns across Michigan don’t need an event the size of the NFL Draft to make a big difference in the community. A well-designed event strategy helps towns and cities create vibrancy, build brand equity and prove market viability.   

Learn more about hosting inspiring and strategically sound events with the Michigan Main Street Solutions Center. Communities can also find out more about ongoing support and technical assistance available to revitalize and manage traditional downtowns and commercial districts.