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Saturday, February 24, 2024
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Pittsburgh Seeks the Spoils of NFL Draft Traveling Road Show

  • NFL team looks to host key league event on Pittsburgh's North Shore.
  • Offseason showcase continues to expand in scope.
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Pittsburgh almost certainly will not host a Super Bowl, thanks in part to Acrisure Stadium’s lack of a dome.

But the Steelers are pushing for the NFL’s next best thing.

The team and city of Pittsburgh have formally submitted an application to host the NFL Draft in either 2026 or 2027 — just as the event continues to expand from a smaller, theater-based event designed primarily for television into a multi-day fan extravaganza. 

“We believe our city will be an excellent host to showcase the great history that connects Western Pennsylvania to the early roots of professional football and the evolution of the game through the decades,” said Burt Lauten, Steelers senior director of communications. 

A Pittsburgh-based NFL Draft would be based on the city’s North Shore, particularly in those areas near Acrisure Stadium and PNC Park that continue to see new development. 

New-Look Event

After years being staged in New York theaters, the NFL Draft has existed since 2015 as a traveling road show and receives heightened emphasis as the league’s biggest offseason, fan-facing event. 

The 2023 NFL Draft in Kansas City drew more than 312,000 fans, the second-largest attendance ever for the event, and generated an estimated $164 million in economic impact, according to local officials. 

Economic impact studies surrounding major sports events are frequently the subject of their own debate and scrutiny. Despite that, there is no denying the sizable influx of visiting fans around the country that descend on the NFL Draft host city each year, which has made hosting the event increasingly attractive for teams. 

The Pittsburgh bid also looks to extend a run of Rust Belt host cities for the NFL Draft that also stand largely outside the Super Bowl rotation, with Detroit set for 2024 and Green Bay in 2025. 

A decision on the 2026 draft is set to be made at league meetings in May 2024.

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