Does Charlotte have a chance at scoring an NFL Draft?

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — This week the NFL Draft returns, with downtown Cleveland as the host site. Two years ago, when the three-day marathon of player selections was in Nashville, a small group of Charlotte tourism executives attended as discussions heated up to bring a future draft to uptown.

Then things got quiet. First as Carolina Panthers owner David Tepper focused on bidding for, and landing, a Major League Soccer expansion team in December 2019. And then came the COVID-19 pandemic.

But with tourism-related industries suffering as much or more than any other businesses, interest in bidding for a future NFL Draft is all but certain.

“In my opinion, we need to look at the first year that is available,” Greater Charlotte Hospitality & Tourism Alliance CEO Mohammad Jenatian told the Charlotte Business Journal.

So does the Queen City have a chance at scoring that prize?

Marc Ganis, principal at Chicago-based consulting firm SportsCorp, maintains strong ties with the NFL and a number of team owners.

Asked about the Panthers’ hometown as a prospective draft location, Ganis told CBJ, “Charlotte would be a phenomenal site. It’s very well-suited. The facilities in the city are concentrated with the stadium and the arena and the NASCAR Hall of Fame all within walking distance.”

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