The NFL is proceeding with the 2020 draft as scheduled on April 23-25, but they have canceled all public events in Las Vegas amid COVID-19 concerns, according to a statement from the league Monday.
The announcement comes a day after the CDC’s recommendation that gatherings of 50 or more people be postponed or canceled for the next eight weeks.
The draft will still be televised, and the league says it is “exploring innovative options for how the process will be conducted.”
“This decision reflects our foremost priority – the health and safety of all fans and citizens,” said Commissioner Roger Goodell. “While this outcome is disappointing both to the NFL and the Las Vegas community, we look forward to partnering with the Raiders, the City of Las Vegas and the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority for a future NFL Draft as well as evaluating opportunities for other major NFL events in Las Vegas in the future, including the Super Bowl.”
Holding the draft in Las Vegas was intended to serve as a welcoming party for the Raiders, who are set to begin play in their new home this upcoming season.
“After careful consideration, the Las Vegas Raiders, the NFL, the NFLPA and the LVCVA have decided to cancel the 2020 Las Vegas NFL Draft celebration,” Raiders owner Mark Davis said in a statement Monday. “Health and safety has always been our top priority, so despite it being a major disappointment, this was the right decision.”
The 2021 NFL Draft will be held in Cleveland, with 2023 hosted by Kansas City. A host city for 2022 has yet to be determined, so there is potential for a return to Las Vegas in two years.