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SEA Approves Steelers Bid to Host Upcoming NFL Draft



Pittsburgh Steelers NFL Draft
People gather at the NFL Draft Theatre for the second round of the NFL football draft Friday, April 30, 2021, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/David Dermer)

The Pittsburgh Steelers got the backing of the Sports & Exhibition Authority of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County to proceed with their bid to host to an upcoming NFL Draft, the final governmental hurdle to the franchise formally moving forward to attempt to host the draft in 2026 or 2027.

The SEA board authorized entering agreements with the city, county, Steelers, NFL and VisitPittsburgh in order to facilitate the hosting of the draft. The SEA owns Acrisure Stadium, PNC Park and the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, all of which could theoretically be used for part of the hosting of the three-day event,

The meeting, which was held on Thursday, was part of the authority’s normal business and matched a provision approved earlier in the week by the Stadium Authority of the City of Pittsburgh, which oversees the parking lots and other properties on the former grounds of Three Rivers Stadium on the North Side.

The plans for where the draft will be held if Pittsburgh gets the bid have not been finalized, but a source told Steelers Now that Point State Park is being considered. The NFL has constructed a temporary venue for hosting the draft in other cities, such as Chicago and Cleveland, where it was held along the lakefront in a similar property.

Steelers president Art Rooney II said last week that he is hopeful about Pittsburgh’s chances of being able to host the event.

“We’re deep in the process of trying to get the NFL Draft to Pittsburgh,” Rooney said last Monday. “I think we are optimistic we will bring it here in the not so distant future.”

This year’s draft will be held in Detroit, and Green Bay, Wisconsin will host the event in 2026.  New York City hosted every NFL Draft from 1965 to 2014 before the NFL shifted gears and made the festivities an event that fans of all 32 teams could come and enjoy themselves. 

Since 1936, 12 different cities have hosted the NFL Draft, including Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas, Kansas City, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Milwaukee,  Nashville, New York, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Washington, D.C. Pittsburgh could be in line to have the longest drought between draft hosting duties. The Steel City last held the league’s annual selection meeting in 1948.