The NFL draft has turned into a significant event business, as 420,000 people applied for tickets to attend this year at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. And 20 NFL teams have expressed interest in hosting the event over the next five years.
This year’s draft, which begins Thursday night at the home of the Dallas Cowboys, will be the first held in a stadium. Demand has been big enough that free tickets to see the first round in person have sold on eBay for as much as $300 each.
Those who didn’t win tickets to be inside AT&T Stadium still have plenty to do outside. There is an area that is 26 football fields in size and includes a stage where local musicians play, an area where fans can test their 40-yard dash times, and a place to sample food from local restaurants.
“It’s pretty much the opposite of the Super Bowl,” O’Reilly said. “It’s incredibly accessible and anyone can get close to the action for free.”
Linking what happens on stage to off stage takes on a new wrinkle this year.
“This year we took some inspiration from the political conventions and we have team delegations on the floor,” O’Reilly said. “We gave each team 50 tickets and the player will come over to that section to be welcomed after they are drafted.”
Although there’s no immediate revenue to be made by the host team — the league fronts the undisclosed costs to put on the event — there is economic impact locally.
New York was held hitless through five innings and trailed 3-0 before Aaron Hicks’ sacrifice fly in the seventh. Didi Gregorius grounded to third leading off the ninth and reached second when Miguel Sano’s throw went wide for an error.
“I just couldn’t complete the play,” Sano said through a translator.
Giancarlo Stanton followed with a slow roller gloved by a charging Sano, who did not make a throw as Stanton crossed first with an infield hit.
“That’s just a swinging bunt,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said. “It’s one of those plays where he split (Ehire) Adrianza and Sano there. Either one didn’t have much of a chance.”
Sanchez took a strike, then sent a fastball from Rodney (1-2) down the left-field line and into the lower deck. The Yankees bounded out of the dugout to mob Sanchez as he crossed the plate and doused him with Gatorade.
“If we can get traffic on the bases, we’re always one swing away with our guys,” rookie manager Aaron Boone said.
New York finished an 8-2 homestand and has outscored opponents 47-13 during its winning streak.
“We’ve got a lot of fight in here, a lot of bulldogs,” Yankees starter Jordan Montgomery said.