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NFL expects 50,000 fans at the draft in Cleveland

Peter King and Mike Florio look at the change the NFL has seen over the year concerning rookie QBs starting earlier than normal.

The biggest gathering of NFL fans since before the COVID-19 pandemic is coming to Cleveland.

The NFL announced today that next week’s NFL draft is slated to have 50,000 fans in attendance.

“We have every confidence in our protocols that are in place,” said Peter O’Reilly, NFL Executive Vice President of Club Business & League Events. “We learned so much from what we did at the Super Bowl, where we were able to do a free, outdoor Super Bowl Experience. . . . We have very clear data working with our partners to show that our events did not cause any spread during the season, and we have that confidence here. Those protocols are very real and very enforced. So critical is the mask-wearing, and that will be heavily enforced throughout the draft.”

The vast majority of the draft events will be outdoors, including the main stage where picks are announced. Fans with the best seats, closest to the stage, will be invited by individual teams and will be verified as vaccinated. The league is working with the city of Cleveland, public health authorities, the CDC, and the NFL’s own medical advisors to determine the appropriate protocols in place.