We all knew that the 2020 NFL draft in Las Vegas would have some over-the-top elements. Few — if any — of us expected that one of those over-the-top elements would include boats.
NFL draft officials revealed plans for the April 23-25 event on Tuesday. And those plans include boat transportation for draftees. Yes, really.
Players attending the draft will not walk to the pre-draft red-carpet stage. Instead, they’ll be taken to the stage via boat at the Bellagio Hotel and Casino as it will be in the Bellagio’s famous fountain pool.
Given that the event is in Vegas, we can only imagine there will be odds placed on which player will jump into the water in celebratory fashion first. While many of the players in attendance won’t want to get their nice suits wet for good reason, we also can’t completely rule out the possibility of one player wanting to go for a viral moment either.
The main stage for the draft itself will be next to the Caesars Forum convention center.
"We are excited to partner with the NFL and the Raiders for our first major event together in Las Vegas," Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority CEO Steve Hill said in a statement. "Our destination prides itself on creating unforgettable and epic events and experiences and we believe the 2020 draft will be among the most thrilling events Las Vegas has ever hosted. We look forward to welcoming hundreds of thousands of NFL fans to our world-class destination on April 23.”
Strip closed to traffic for the draft
The draft is also going to be big enough to close the Las Vegas Strip for three days. Clark County commissioners voted unanimously to approve plans to close down the strip to traffic for the entirety of the draft.
The traffic impacts will be felt before and after the draft too. From the Las Vegas Review-Journal:
Staging the draft in front of the Bellagio would result in rolling closures of the Strip over roughly 20 days while the NFL is setting up and tearing down the draft stage.
To accommodate the Bellagio plan, Las Vegas Boulevard would be reduced to two lanes in front of the fountains for a significant period surrounding the draft, the source with direct knowledge said.
Getting hundreds of thousands of fans like Hill expects to actually attend the draft would be a dream scenario for the NFL. The league has moved the draft from city to city since it left New York after 50 consecutive years in 2014, and the Raiders are set to debut in the city in 2020.
"Embracing Las Vegas's unique energy and iconic locations as the backdrop for the 2020 NFL draft will further elevate this growing event," NFL vice president Peter O’Reilly said. "We look forward to continuing to work closely with the Raiders, Las Vegas officials and the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority to create an unforgettable week-long celebration for our fans, the incoming prospects and our partners, as we kick off the NFL's next 100 years."
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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.
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