The third time was the charm.
The NFL, a holiday and once the lone beacon of hope for Browns fans, is coming to Cleveland.
"Cleveland has a passionate fan base and the city offers distinctive iconic locations and attractions that will bring the NFL Draft experience to fans in unique and exciting ways," NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said. "We look forward to collaborating with the Cleveland Browns, the City of Cleveland, Greater Cleveland Sports Commission and Destination Cleveland to celebrate the achievements of the next generation of players and create a memorable fan experience."
The Browns were awarded the 2021 Draft on Wednesday by NFL owners, who are meeting in Florida this week, following unsuccessful bids for the 2019 and 2020 Drafts that included the city of Canton and the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The league also announced Kansas City will host the 2023 NFL Draft, with a host for the 2022 draft to be determined at a later date. NFL Network's Ian Rapoport suggested Boston, Washington D.C. and Houston are in the mix, with Houston being a longshot, considering the league likes to pick cities for the draft that do not host Super Bowls.
This bid, submitted by the Browns in conjunction with the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission, was centered around Cleveland, and not the Hall of Fame, eliminating logistical concerns that arose with the previous bids.
Coincidentally, the Browns will also celebrate their 75th anniversary in 2021.
"We are incredibly honored to be able to showcase the City of Cleveland and the passion of Browns fans through the unique international platform the NFL Draft provides," Browns owners Jimmy and Dee Haslam said in a statement. "This is an exceptional opportunity for Northeast Ohio that even extends beyond football, and we look forward to continuing the work ahead with Greater Cleveland Sports Commission, the City of Cleveland, Destination Cleveland and the NFL to ensure that the 2021 NFL Draft is truly memorable for Northeast Ohio and football fans across the world."
While details and locations for the three-day event are still being worked through, the Browns hope to incorporate and showcase the public spaces downtown and the lakefront for the nation to see.
In 2015 the NFL began moving the draft around the country following a scheduling conflict with Radio City Music Hall where it had been held for the previous nine years and New York City hosted the Draft for 57 years.
Chicago hosted in 2015 and '16, Philadelphia in 2017, Dallas 2018 and this past year over 600,000 fans attended in Nashville.
"Cleveland is honored to be selected as the host city for the 2021 NFL Draft and we are excited to once again show the world that this city can set a standard for hosting some of the world's largest events," David Gilbert, President and CEO of the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission, said. "This event will provide international media exposure and has proven to provide more than $100 million in economic impact to the host city. We look forward to showing NFL fans across the nation how Cleveland throws a party. Being awarded the 2021 NFL Draft wouldn't have been possible without the unwavering commitment of the Cleveland Browns, the support of the City of Cleveland and Cuyahoga County, the State of Ohio and so many others who helped make this a reality. As Cleveland continues to shine in the national spotlight with the unique opportunity to host four major sporting events over the next six years, including the Draft, we are proud of this achievement which few destinations are able to accomplish."
The addition of the NFL Draft adds another premiere event for Cleveland in the coming months and years.
The 2019 MLB All-Star Game will be played at Progressive Field in July followed by the 2020 NCAA men's basketball tournament at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse, the 2021 NFL Draft, 2022 NBA All-Star Game and 2024 NCAA Women's Final Four.
Cleveland has hosted the 1997 NBA and MLB All-Star Games, the 1995, 1997 and 2016 World Series, the 2007, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 NBA Finals, the 2016 Republican National Convention, NCAA men's basketball tournament in 2000, 2005, 2011 and 2015, 2007 NCAA Women's Final Four and the 2018 NCAA Wrestling Championships.