Who Does the NFL Need and Who Needs the NFL?


Whether you’re a fan of football or you’re not it’s impossible to go anywhere in Chicago this week without running into the NFL Draft. Team banners can be found on every street lamp, draftees adorn the CTA ads and the streets are filled with swarms of grown men wearing identical jerseys. Grant Park has been taken over by the most powerful entity in American culture. The NFL is so powerful it isn’t beholden to many of the same needs that other sports and entertainment entities rely on. The National Football League doesn’t need the city of Chicago, it doesn’t need traditional sponsors, it doesn’t even need traditional media. But Chicago, sponsors and media need the NFL.




 The #1 Pick at the first televised NFL Draft in 1980

The #1 Pick at the first televised NFL Draft in 1980

Up until 2015 the NFL Draft had been held in New York City. Emanating from Radio City Music Hall the draft was grew in viewership and attendance every year since its initial broadcast in 1980. Following the 2014 Draft the NFL decided to take the show on the road and brought it to Chicago. Not everyone in town was a fan of the new guests. With an estimated cost of $4 million to the city for marketing and infrastructure support the draft wasn’t initially welcomed with open arms. That didn’t even include waived Grant Park rental fee of $900,000 per day. But the stats on 2015’s Draft show the investment returned an excellent ROI for the city. 200,000 visitors attended some Draft related event in Grant Park alone. Half of the Draft’s attendees were from outside the city, generating 31,000 hotel nights and $456,000 in city hotel tax revenue. With the Draft comes wall-to-wall TV coverage of which Chicago was firmly placed front and center. ESPN and the NFL Network cover the event non-stop and once the coverage from other major networks was taken into consideration, the city received TV and digital media coverage that is estimated at a value of $115 million. The city’s sports commission ultimately determined the value of the 2015 NFL Draft to be $86 million in direct economic impact. While the NFL may love Chicago you can bet there are dozens of other cities looking on with envy at those numbers. Cities eager to sweeten the pot for the league and lure the Draft away. The NFL doesn’t need the city of Chicago. Chicago needs the NFL.


The NFL doesn’t need your brand. Your brand needs the NFL.


Bundling up, going to a blustery game in late fall, ordering a smoked sausage and an Okinos greek yogurt is an American tradition. That may not be as cliché as it sounds but Okinos returns for the second year in a row to sponsor newsletter, like us on Facebook, tweet at us on Twitter, link up on Linkedin, and stare at us on Instagram

– Michael Dennis, Digital Strategist & Content Creator


Magnani is an experience design and strategy firm that crafts transformational digital experiences to delight users and deliver sustainable competitive market advantages for our clients.


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