The NFL Draft is finally coming to Las Vegas. This has been in the works since it was first announced in 2018.
The NFL Draft was originally scheduled to take place in Las Vegas in 2020. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic halted large in-person gatherings. The NFL Draft took place virtually in 2020 and as scheduled in Cleveland last year.
The last major in-person NFL Draft took place in Nashville, TN, in 2019. There were more than 600,000 people in attendance for the three-day event. Between locals and tourists flying or driving to Las Vegas, NFL officials are expecting even larger crowds for the event.
This will mark the beginning of unprecedented a couple of NFL activities taking place in one city. Las Vegas will be the first city to host both the NFL Draft (this year) and the host the Super Bowl (in 2024).
Now that large gatherings are becoming normal once again, the Las Vegas NFL Draft will take place from April 28-30 at multiple locations on the Vegas Strip.
The good news is that the NFL is keeping most of the plans that will make some of the Las Vegas NFL Draft coverage unique. Similar to the NHL All-Star Game, the NFL will hold an event on the lake in front of Bellagio. The main stage of the NFL Draft will take place outside of the Caesars Forum convention center near The Linq. Altogether, the NFL will have draft-related events that occupy 1 million square feet of the Vegas Strip.
NFL Draft red carpet outside of Bellagio
The main draft activities will begin around 2 p.m. (PT) on the afternoon of Thursday, April 28, outside of Bellagio. The official NFL Draft Red Carpet will be built on one of the quintessential Las Vegas attractions – The Fountains of Bellagio.
For the first time, the NFL Draft will feature the NFL Draft Red Carpet Stage. This is where the media will interview NFL Draft prospects during the event.
The stage will host special performances by various Las Vegas entertainers. Players are slated to take a boat on the lake at Bellagio to the stage.
Eric Finkelstein, senior director of event operations for the NFL, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal,
“(W)e really try to highlight and take on the life of where we are.”
He continued saying, “What better way to do that than to actually build our red carpet stage into the Bellagio fountain itself. That will really kick off our event.”
This is a uniquely Las Vegas event stage. It will be packed with visitors watching future NFL players and artists performing.
NFL Draft Theater at Caesars Forum
The NFL Draft Theater will be located next to Caesars Forum convention center. This will be the main stage where NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell will be on hand to make announcements of players selected and any trades that may take place involving draft picks.
It will be the largest in the event’s history. The main stage will be 105 feet wide and 280 feet deep. This is where most television coverage will take place.
NFL Draft Theater activities for the first round of the NFL Draft will begin at 5 p.m. (PT) on Thursday, April 28.
Rounds 2-3 at the NFL Draft Theater will begin at 4 p.m. (PT) on Friday, April 29. The final four rounds will take place on Saturday, April 30, beginning at 9 a.m. (PT).
Admission to the NFL Draft Theater viewing zone is free and open to the public. Fans just have to sign up and register for the NFL OnePass.
NFL Draft Experience
The NFL Draft Experience will be located near The Linq and Caesars Forum and begin at noon on Thursday, April 18. Activities will continue until the final NFL Draft selection each day or night of the event.
This is considered to be an interactive football theme park by the NFL. There will be participatory games, experiences, and clinics along with food & beverage.
The NFL Draft Experience will also include the following:
- A virtual autograph session with NFL players
- Personalized digital photos
- A 40-yard dash and vertical jump against NFL players on LED screens
- Super Bowl rings on display
- Photo opportunities with the Vince Lombardi Trophy
The NFL Draft Experience will also offer exclusive merchandise from the NFL Shop. Caesars Palace’s Forum Shops (not to be confused with Caesars Forum convention center) is home to the full-time retail space of the NFL Shop.
There will be video screens showing the NFL Draft throughout the Draft Experience so fans can enjoy the activities while the event is taking place.
NFL Draft Concert Series
The NFL will be offering a variety of non-sports entertainment at the Red Carpet Stage in front of Bellagio and the Draft Stage near The Linq.
- Weezer will headline the Draft Stage after the first round on Thursday, April 28.
- Ice Cube will headline the Draft Stage after the third round on Friday, April 29.
- (DJ) Marshmellow will headline the Draft Stage after the first round on Saturday, April 30.
Other highlights include Cris Angel opening the NFL Draft Main Stage on Friday around 4 pm. Blue Man Group and friends will take over that duty on Saturday morning around 9 am.
The Main Stage will be full of Las Vegas show performers all morning and early afternoon on Saturday.
The Red Carpet Stage will feature a double shot of Absinthe on the opening evening at 4:30 pm and again around 7:30 pm. The stage will highlight other Las Vegas shows and local performers.
Info for those visiting Las Vegas for the NFL Draft
The Las Vegas NFL Draft will take place April 28-30. There are a few things that visitors should know.
The NFL Draft site will cause a bit of disarray for more than a few days. There will be rolling temporary closures near Flamingo Road and Las Vegas Boulevard from April 13-27. Additionally, parts of the area will be closed for the NFL Draft itself from April 28-30.
Expect delays and plan for transportation away from this area. It might make sense for those taking a rideshare or taxi to the Draft to get dropped off at The Venetian or Planet Hollywood and walk a couple of hotels over to the event.
Specific closure days and times will be announced in April.
The NFL Draft will take place outdoors in multiple locations. Distances in Las Vegas are larger than they appear. The walk between Bellagio and The Linq then to Caesars Forum is longer than one might expect.
Visitors should expect to do some walking between the three different event areas. Wearing comfortable clothes and shoes is recommended.
The NFL Draft Experience at The Linq will have sizable security. All bags will be checked, and only certain sized bags will be allowed:
- Clear bags that do not exceed 12” x 12” x 6” and small clutch size purses not exceeding 8” x 6” x 2”
- No backpacks or luggage of any size will be permitted.
- Exceptions for medically necessary items after thorough inspection at the entry screening site
This is similar to other events in Las Vegas. Unfortunately, there are guests at every event who aren’t prepared to deal with security.