David Gilbert, a graduate of Cleveland Heights High School in Cleveland Heights who heads Destination Cleveland and the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission, did it again.
It wasn’t the greatest secret in the world, but last week the NFL announced the 2021 NFL Draft will be held in Cleveland. A few weeks ago, the NFL Draft drew more than 600,000 to Nashville, Tenn.
Did anyone think Cleveland could draw the Republican National Convention and a NCAA Women’s Final Four? Gilbert did.
The economic impact to the city of Nashville for the three to four days was about $225 million. It is unlikely Cleveland would match that, but the city would be happy with the numbers of cities where previous NFL Drafts were held: Dallas brought in about $125 million and Philadelphia $95 million. Cleveland will be happy with either of those numbers.
For years, Cleveland has billed itself as the greatest location in the nation. Look where the fans will come from in less than a six-hour drive: Buffalo, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Washington, D.C., Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Detroit and Chicago. History shows us fans spend an average of 2.8 nights in the city. Based on the cities listed above, I think the length of time will be higher in Cleveland.
Details are not available, but you can expect the planning committee will use venues like Lake Erie, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, FirstEnergy Stadium, Public Square, Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse, Huntington Convention Center and, possibly, the I-X Center.
Imagine if Gilbert had a retractable domed stadium to work with. We would be talking about a Super Bowl and an NCAA Final Four. Thanks to David Gilbert and his group, the city of Cleveland has a remarkable resume.
Beilein decision "makes sense"
I don’t expect the Cleveland Cavaliers to challenge for an NBA title, but the choice of former University of Michigan head coach John Beilein makes sense. He will have NBA assistant coaches on his staff to help him. Playing 82 games in the regular season might be a problem for him and based on owner Dan Gilbert’s history, it is not a stretch to think he won’t finish his five-year contract. However, he could change the culture on this team. One of the encouraging factors is numerous NBA players have sent their sons to play for him and he has turned several good Michigan players into NBA players.
Most coaches and general managers “win” their press conference and so did Beilein. He came across quite well as did General Manager Koby Altman. But time will tell.
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