Tens of thousands from across the country are expected in Texas as the National Football League Draft makes history by taking place in an NFL stadium for the first time.
The Dallas Cowboys host the draft Thursday through Sunday at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, bringing attention to North Texas. Organizers said they were excited to have millions of eyes on the region, from visitors and television viewers.
“It’s coverage, it’s television, it’s economic impact, it’s people staying in our hotels, eating in our restaurants, doing a little shopping, having a great time and using social media to tell us what a great time they had at the NFL Draft and NFL experience, and saying they can’t wait until they get back to North Texas,” Dallas Sports Commission executive director Monica Paul said.
Fans were endlessly entertained both outside and inside the gigantic venue.
“I’m just glad to be here, this is awesome,” Kansas City Chiefs fan Matt Johnson said.
San Francisco 49ers fan Angela Ellington said she enjoyed the attention-grabbing activities.
“There’s so much here to see,” she said. “I love the memorabilia that they have here.”
Other fans came to talk shop. Jeff Bailey and Steven Countryman showed up to support their Green Bay Packers.
“I’m a Packers shareholder so I feel like I need to represent for the new G.M., see how he’s gonna do, restock the team, help us win,” Bailey explained.
All of this attention on the Dallas metroplex this week is great for the region, Charlotte Jones Anderson, Dallas Cowboys executive vice president and chief brand officer said. Her legendary father, Jerry Jones, runs the Dallas dynasty.
Anderson hoped the community would show “everyone across [the] country how proud our Cowboy fans are and how proud our NFL fans are.”
The events were expected to have an economic impact of $94 million, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott tweeted Thursday
Arlington Mayor Jeff Williams said the city is no stranger to hosting large-scale events, but this one was special.
“We’ve hosted the Super Bowl, the Final Four, the National College Football Championship, NBA All Star Game, the list goes on,” Williams said. “Now, to be the first city and the first stadium to host the NFL Draft is tremendous.”
Arlington Convention and Visitors Bureau president and CEO Ron Price agrees.
“The trickle down back to the restaurants, the hotels and all the attractions, is going to be incredible” Price mentioned. “The fact that we’re going to be televised around the world with tens of millions of people, to put our brand on the map, is going to be wonderful.”
The draft runs from Thursday night through Saturday.