Detroit Breaks Day-One NFL Draft Attendance Record with 275,000-Plus Spectators

The passion of football fans knows no bounds, and it’s evident in the way that more than 275,000 people packed into downtown Detroit Thursday night, April 25, to break the NFL’s single-day draft attendance record.

The previous record was when 200,000-plus people attended opening day of the 2019 NFL Draft, and the city saw more than 600,000 people over its three days.

After just 10 picks announced Thursday night in Detroit, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell told the crowd of the new record.

“I heard there’s close to 150,000 already outside, waiting to get in,” Goodell said shortly after 7 p.m., not long after officials announced the venue was at capacity and began turning people away.

Goodell later said the total attendance was “at 275,000…and growing,” then said it was an NFL record.

Claude Molinari, President and CEO of Visit Detroit, said last week that he was expecting a great, large audience. He emphasized the significance of the event, saying, “The NFL Draft is going to be the largest and most inclusive sporting event in Michigan’s history. By highlighting Detroit’s beauty and vitality, hundreds of thousands of visitors and tens of millions of TV viewers around the world will see what we already know. Detroit and Michigan are great places to live, work, invest, and visit.”

The city spent nearly 18 months planning and making infrastructure and security improvements in order to support the massive influx of visitors in the city’s center. Original projections were that the draft would host about 400,000 people over the course of all three days, but it appears that Detroit could break the three-day attendance record in just two days if Friday’s attendance is anything like Thursday’s.

Additionally, Friday’s weather is supposed to be significantly better than it was on Day 1. Thursday’s high temperature was just 55 degrees, whereas 55 degrees will be the low temperature on Friday. Saturday, the weather is expected to climb nearly 80 degrees, so final-day counts could allow Detroit to blow the 2019 record out of the water.

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