Detroit says 2024 NFL Draft generated more than $213 million in economic impact

The draft, which drew 775,000 attendees, also brought in $161.3 million in visitor spending, according to Visit Detroit and the Detroit Sports Commission

DETROIT, MICHIGAN - APRIL 26: An elevated overall general view of fans filling the area outside of the draft stage during the second round of the NFL football draft at Campus Martius Park on April 26, 2024 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Ryan Kang/Getty Images)
The 2024 NFL Draft took place in Detroit from April 25-27, drawing in nearly 800,000 attendees. (Photo by Ryan Kang/Getty Images)

Three months after the 2024 NFL Draft, Visit Detroit and the Detroit Sports Commission announced that the weekend-long event pulled in $213.6 million in economic impact for the city and surrounding area, according to a news release. Around $161.3 million of that money came from visitor spending, per the release.

The draft, which took place in downtown Detroit from April 25-27, brought in more than 775,000 fans who attended the event. According to the news release, more than 30 percent of participants traveled more than 100 miles to attend, with visitors coming from all 50 states and more than 20 countries.

Hotel occupancy throughout the city was high during the weekend, hitting 92% on Thursday, April 25, the first night of the draft. In addition to visitors, the NFL worked with more than 60 local businesses, largely Detroit-based and minority-owned, for services such as catering, furniture and production.

The economic impact was measured in a study by Dr. Patrick Rishe, director of the Sports Business Program at Washington University in St. Louis.

On television and streaming, the event drew 53.6 million viewers over the draft's three days, according to the release, averaging 12.1 million viewers on Day 1 — the highest viewership since the 2021 draft.

The NFL Draft has become a wildly popular event in recent years. Although the draft used to take place in New York every year, the NFL began hosting the event in cities around the country, starting with Chicago in 2015. The draft now offers an opportunity for cities to take advantage of tourism and traveling NFL fans associated with the event.

In recent years, the draft was held in Las Vegas in 2022 and Kansas City in 2023. The 2025 draft will be in Green Bay, Wisconsin, with the 2026 draft slated for Pittsburgh.