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2026 NFL Draft

Art Rooney II Excited that Pittsburgh Will Host the 2026 NFL Draft

Pittsburgh Steelers President Art Rooney II talked to the media after the city of Pittsburgh was named the site of the 2026 NFL Draft.



Pittsburgh Steelers President Art Rooney II
Pittsburgh Steelers president Art Rooney II before a game against the Indianapolis Colts on Dec. 16, 2023. -- Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

On Wednesday, the NFL announced that the city of Pittsburgh will host the 2026 NFL Draft. In a statement by the NFL’s Executive Vice President of Club Business and League Events Peter O’Reilly, the NFL was excited to partner with the Steelers to bring such a event to the football-loving city of Pittsburgh.

“Today we are here to announce that that 2026 NFL Draft has been awarded to the City of Pittsburgh,” said O’Reilly. “We’re thrilled that we’ll be bringing this major free accessible event to the great city, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and do that with a tremendous partner in the Pittsburgh Steelers.”

Steelers president Art Rooney II spoke after O’Reilly and shared his joy in knowing that the NFL Draft is coming to Pittsburgh.

“Everybody in Pittsburgh is going to be extremely excited about hosting the NFL Draft,” Rooney said. “As we all know, the city of Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania have a great tradition. The roots of pro football really are deep in our region. So, we plan to celebrate the history of football and the Mike Ditkas, the Dan Marinos, the Joe Montanas, etc., that came from our area.”

Detroit played host to the 2024 NFL Draft and the city saw around 750,000 total visitors over the three day event. With the Steelers immense fanbase that is located all over the country, people may want to travel to the city for the historic event which is likely to take place outside of Acrisure Stadium.

“The location will likely be right outside of Acrisure Stadium and spilling over into the downtown areas,” Rooney said. “I think the North Shore is set up well to handle it.”

Rooney believes that Pittsburgh could be in line for a record amount of spectators due to the success of the cities that recently hosted the event.

“We think it will be the largest visitor event in the history of Pittsburgh, hosting hundreds of thousands of people, and really football fans from all over the country,” Rooney said. “Certainly, Steelers Nation from all over the country we think will come for a visit, and so we look forward to hosting that and it will be an exciting time.”

Aside from the public excitement, there is internal excitement regarding the winning bid. Rooney talked about how hosting a draft means so much more for him and the team because of the way they build their teams which is primarily through the draft.

“This year we celebrated the 50th anniversary of the greatest draft in history, the 1974 Steelers draft, which produced five Hall of Famers,” said Rooney. “So we do have a great tradition with the draft in our organization and I think that’s a great part of hosting the draft.”

With such exciting news, the city of Pittsburgh and the Steelers have just under two years to prepare to host the expected hundreds of thousand of visitors.