The NFL has considered the idea of moving the draft out of New York, and there appears to be growing momentum to involve other cities in the league's annual college player selection process.
Commissioner Roger Goodell told reporters Wednesday at a predraft event that officials from several cities have spoken to him about moving the draft, and Goodell wouldn't rule out changing venues, perhaps as early as next year.
"We want to share the draft experience with as many communities as possible," Goodell said. "There's been a lot of interest in Chicago and Los Angeles -- and other markets by the way -- from the mayor on down. We know fans would love to have the experience. We've had a great experience here in New York and we may still have a presence here in some fashion, but those are things we are evaluating."
Goodell said that the league wouldn't immediately have a formal bidding process for hosting the draft. Instead, it would be a decision made at the league level. At least for now.
"We will probably hand pick our solution for next year," he said. "At some point we may get to that stage [of bids]. But we want to balance the experience we've had here at Radio City. We want to evaluate how this has worked for our clubs."
Goodell wouldn't rule out keeping the draft at Radio City, and it's possible the event could be held in New York and another location in the same year. Radio City might host the event the first day or two, and then the draft could move to another city for additional rounds.
"We've had great experiences here at Radio City. We'd love to continue to have a presence here," he said. "Part of it depends on scheduling issues, they have some other objectives that they want to achieve. We are going to make sure we have other alternatives that we can rely on. Having a presence in New York, Chicago or L.A. and other markets is a chance to share this draft and it's a great thing. But New York is a special place for us."
Goodell said holding the draft two weeks later than usual (due to the since canceled Rockettes show scheduled for late April, when the draft is normally held), will be evaluated for future drafts.
"I talked to the players this morning about the extra two weeks," he said. "The anxiety for players and clubs is pretty significant. They want to get started. They want to play."
But the league is anxious to examine the television ratings, since this year's draft will be held in the critical May ratings period. Goodell also said there have been some benefits to holding the draft later than usual.
"One of the players this morning said it gave them a chance to finish their degree," he said. "The later time period is actually beneficial in some ways."