The NFL draft, one of the league’s most anticipated nights of the year, is set to begin tonight in Las Vegas. Players are descending upon Allegiant Stadium with their professional dreams on the line as teams hope to land future stars.
This event, uniting the most popular sport in America with the entertainment capital of the world, is nearly two years in the making.
Learn more about how Las Vegas won the right to host the event and where they stand in the history of the NFL draft.
Where is the 2022 NFL Draft?
The NFL draft is headed to Las Vegas for the first time in league history, but what happens in Vegas will not stay in Vegas as millions of fans will tune in to see what future stars their teams might land.
League commissioner Roger Goodell will take the stage at Allegiant Stadium beginning April 28. Technically in Paradise, Nevada, an unincorporated town adjacent to Las Vegas, Allegiant Stadium is home to the Raiders and UNLV Rebels.
The first round is April 28, followed by the second and third round on April 29. The draft will conclude with rounds four through seven on April 30.
How many times has Las Vegas hosted the NFL draft?
It might come as a surprise to some considering the entertainment hub that is Las Vegas, but this is the first time the NFL draft has been held in Nevada. If it were up to the league, however, that would not have been the case.
The NFL originally set out to host the 2020 draft in Las Vegas with elaborate plans that involved a red carpet, the Bellagio hotel and players being escorted to and from the main stage by boat. This was also designed to correspond with the relocation of the Raiders from Oakland to Las Vegas.
But as the world shut down amid the initial COVID-19 outbeak, the NFL followed suit, canceling all draft-related events by March 16. Instead, front offices and players alike tuned in virtually to make their picks.
How does the NFL decide where to host the NFL draft?
Applying to host the NFL draft isn’t unlike the Olympics or the World Cup -- build your case, submit a bid and hope the votes fall your way.
Every year cities lobby for a chance to host the event, and the decision ultimately comes down to a vote between the owners of the 32 NFL teams.
What city has hosted the most NFL drafts?
New York has historically owned the NFL draft and it’s not even close. The Big Apple has hosted one of the league’s biggest events 57 times including a 50-year uninterrupted stretch from 1965 to 2014.
In the eight years since leaving New York, the NFL has traveled to five different cities to host the draft, including first-timers Dallas, Nashville and Cleveland. Dallas did, however, host the AFL draft from 1961 to 1963.
This is the full list of cities that have hosted the NFL draft:
- New York (57)
- Philadelphia (12)
- Chicago (10)
- Milwaukee (1)
- Washington D.C. (1)
- Pittsburgh (1)
- Los Angeles (1) - Rounds 1-3 of the 1956 NFL Draft were held in Philadelphia, followed by Rounds 4-30 in Los Angeles
- Dallas (1)
- Nashville (1)
- Cleveland (1)
2022 will be only the third time that any rounds of the draft will be held west of the Mississippi River, adding Las Vegas to a list that includes Los Angeles and Dallas.
Who is hosting the 2023 and 2024 NFL Drafts?
Kansas City is next on the board in 2023, building on the recent trend of mid-sized markets hosting the event for the first time in league history. On March 28, the NFL announced it had selected Detroit as its pick for the 2024 draft, choosing the Motor City over Green Bay, Wis. and Washington.
No host has been selected for the 2025 draft.
Tune in to the 2022 NFL Draft beginning April 28 on ESPN and ABC.