Murphy confident Packers could host NFL draft

Ryan Wood
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PHOENIX – Although Green Bay Packers president Mark Murphy said “it’s probably a long shot” for Green Bay to host the 2019 NFL draft, he believes the city can provide sufficient accommodations.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell introduces former NFL player Willie Brown at the 2016 draft in Chicago.

Murphy said the Resch Center would “make the most sense” to host the draft in Green Bay. As an indoor venue across the street from Lambeau Field, it could safeguard against the cold in April.

The draft will be held April 27-29 in Philadelphia along the Ben Franklin Parkway.

“We’ve put some thought into it,” Murphy said this past week at the NFL meetings. “I think with Titletown being up and running then, it’d be a nice way to showcase some of the things that we’ve done to Lambeau Field and around the stadium.”

The Packers submitted proposals to host the draft in 2019, 2020 or 2021. The most significant obstacle will be securing enough hotel space to accommodate the draft’s turnout, another aspect Murphy has explored.

While Murphy said 250,000 people attended the 2015 draft when it was held for the first time in Chicago, poor weather in 2016 lowered turnout to 225,000. So far, 157,000 people have registered to attend the draft in Philadelphia, Murphy said.

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Murphy believes northeast Wisconsin has enough hotel space to accommodate the draft. He said Lodge Kohler opening in July could make a big difference.

“I think (the hotel space is) certainly not what you’d need for a home game or a Super Bowl,” Murphy said. “Lodge Kohler would be – having a nice hotel would probably help – not that we don’t have other nice hotels. So we’ll see. I keep my fingers crossed, but I’d say it’s probably a long shot.”

Green Bay would compete against other cities who have submitted proposals, including Denver, Atlanta, Dallas, Los Angeles, Jacksonville, Pittsburgh and Canton. Murphy said he doesn’t expect to hear about Green Bay’s proposal for 2019 until a year from now.

Before a Packers game at Minnesota in September, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said Green Bay could be “a great place” for the draft.

“I think that whole development that’s happening around the stadium could be a great place for it,” Goodell said, “but a lot of communities are trying to do this. Each community is putting their own twists on these things, which is really great.”

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