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NFL Mulling Draft Changes Amid Coronavirus Uncertainty, Raiders Owner Davis on Point

Scott Gulbransen
nfl draft coronavirus las vegas mark davis

Amid mass cancellations of major sporting events, including the suspension of the NBA season, Las Vegas Raiders owner Mark Davis, the NFL, and local and state officials are all monitoring the situation closely but remain undecided on changes to Draft here next month.

Las Vegas’ – and their new pro football franchise the Raiders – big splash upon entering the NFL was supposed to be next month’s amateur draft here on the famed Las Vegas Strip, now, Raiders owner Mark Davis and officials are huddling to decide what changes, if any, will be made amid the coronavirus crisis.

“The league office, the players association, and the city and the state are working together,” Las Vegas Raiders owner Mark Davis told the Dallas Morning News by phone on Wednesday night. “They’re making a measured decision. Health and safety will always be No. 1.”

The draft, scheduled for Las Vegas April 23-25, is one of two major NFL events in the near future. The annual owners meeting in Palm Beach, Fla., is slated to be held March 29 to April 1 and its status is unknown as well.

They’ll make the correct decision. They won’t put anyone in jeopardy over it. – Las Vegas Raiders owner Mark Davis

Although the owner’s meetings could be conducted virtually, the NFL Draft is a massive event for both fans and the players entering the league out of college. Already reeling from the cancellation of several major conventions including the massive National Association of Broadcasters convention, the loss of another event would be disastrous for the local economy. An estimated 250,000 to 500,000 people were estimated to be coming to Southern Nevada for the annual draft.

“They’ll make the correct decision,” Davis said to the Dallas Morning News. “They won’t put anyone in jeopardy over it.”

Over 250,000 fans are expected to come to Las Vegas for the 2020 NFL Draft.

The NFL Draft coronavirus response should come relatively soon, but with six weeks until the event, Davis, the NFL, and state and local officials have time to see how the situation plays out before making a final decision.

When we asked one NFL source if canceling the event for fans was possible, they said it was but owners and league officials want to wait to see how health officials assess the situation over the next 7-10 days.

Reports indicate room rates for the NFL Draft have already plummeted, further growing economic concerns for the local Las Vegas economy.

Rooms were sold out on The Strip by the first of the year and according to Bailey Schulz at the Las Vegas Review-Journal, “room rates across the valley have dipped, with some properties charging as much as 86 percent less for a stay during the draft compared with the prices that were listed in May.”