Report: Cities prepping to fight for right to host NFL Draft

As is usually the case, when Roger Goodell and the NFL come calling, the pocketbooks open.

Debby Wong/USA TODAY Sports

For most sports, the term "bidding war" refers to the price billionaires are willing to pay to own a franchise or to sign a big-name free agent. But in the NFL, it seems anything can be put up for auction and there will be no shortage of bids — even if the event isn’t a game, and doesn’t involve a single professional player.

The NFL Annual Player Selection Meeting could be yours . . . if the price is right.

Reports surfaced earlier this month that the league was considering moving its increasingly popular draft out of New York, home to the event since the 1960s, and that the league even could put the hosting rights up to bid.

Looks like that’s going to be a good move.

Sport Illustrated reported on Thursday that 11 cities are interested in hosting the event should it move, and that the league is indeed considering "perhaps deciding the host city or cities by a bidding process that would allow the league to further monetize the event."

According to the report, along with previously reported cities like Los Angeles, Chicago and Dallas, other cities that have expressed interest in hosting the draft include Boston, Green Bay, Houston, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and New Orleans, as well as a couple of cities that currently do not have an NFL franchise: Orlando, Fla., and Canton, Ohio (which is home to the Pro Football Hall of Fame and hosts the annual preseason kickoff game).

While the interest seems to be cemented, the final plan is still far from it. The league reportedly is waiting for Radio City Music Hall (home of the draft since 2006) to release its spring 2015 schedule, and then the specifics will have to be discussed at next week’s owners meeting in Atlanta. Also reportedly up for discussion are the idea of holding the draft in a location closer to New York in 2015 and then looking to the West Coast in 2016, holding the draft in multiple cities over the three-day event in 2015, and sticking with Radio City Music Hall for next year.

That last one seems like the easiest choice, but emotions may say otherwise.

Last year, the venue forced the NFL to move back the date of last week’s draft from its usual April slot to early May because of a new Rockettes show. Then earlier this year, RCMH canceled the "Heart and Lights" show less than a week before its scheduled opening.

And as many an NFL player has learned — you don’t mess with Roger Goodell.