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Las Vegas Raiders to Host 2022 NFL Draft After COVID-19 Forced Virtual Event

Blake SchusterCorrespondent IIIApril 24, 2020

Fans cheer as the Oakland Raiders announce their fourth round draft pick during an NFL football draft event Saturday, April 29, 2017, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
John Locher/Associated Press

Roger Goodell is giving Las Vegas another opportunity to host the NFL draft in 2022.   

After the league's grand plans to bring the draft to The Strip this year were thwarted by the coronavirus pandemic, Goodell announced the league will return to Vegas in two years after hosting the 2021 draft in Cleveland next April. 

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"I'm pleased to announce that Las Vegas will host the 2022 NFL Draft, where we look forward to holding an even bigger and better event than we could have ever imagined this year," Goodell said in a statement released by the Raiders. "Congratulations to Las Vegas, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, the Raiders' organization and Raider Nation."

In canceling the live draft this year, Goodell expressed his sorrow and vowed to bring more of the league's marquee events to the city.

"This decision reflects our foremost priority—the health and safety of all fans and citizens," the commissioner said on March 16. "While this outcome is disappointing both to the NFL and to the Las Vegas community, we look forward to partnering with the Raiders, the City of Las Vegas and the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority for a future NFL Draft as well as evaluating opportunities for other major NFL events in Las Vegas in the future, including the Super Bowl." 

Likewise, Raiders owner Mark Davis expressed his desire to bring a future draft to Vegas shortly after the league announced it would be unable to continue with the live event as planned. 

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In announcing the NFL's return to Sin City in 2022, Goodell fulfills his promise. That said, going "bigger and better" will certainly push the NFL to new limits. 

When the league unveiled its plans to host the 2020 draft in Vegas, the idea was to place the stage in the fountains at Bellagio and ferry draft picks in on pontoon boats after each selection. The Raiders confirmed all current plans drawn up for the 2020 draft will remain in place, but the additional two years of prep time will allow them to enhance what was already an over-the-top experience as only the NFL can create.

"We're thrilled the NFL has given us the opportunity to host the Draft in Las Vegas in 2022," Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority CEO Steve Hill said. "While disappointed we were unable to bring this exciting event to life this year. We plan to make the 87th annual NFL Draft an ONLY VEGAS experience football fans will never forget."  

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