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Detroit sets NFL Draft attendance record with more than 700,000 fans

Detroit Lions fans show out at 2024 NFL Draft
Detroit Lions fans show out at 2024 NFL Draft 02:45

Detroit set a new attendance record for the NFL Draft with more than 700,000 fans flooding downtown Detroit over the three-day event. 

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer broke the news at Campus Martius Park on Saturday during the third and final day of the draft, which consists of selections in the fourth through seventh rounds.

While it will take years to know if this year's picks delivered for their teams, there's no doubt that Detroit made the most of an opportunity to host hundreds of thousands of fans and show 50-plus million viewers the new-look city.

Motown beat Music City's three-day attendance record of 600,000 set in 2019 when fans filled Broadway in Nashville.

Detroit drew a record 275,000 people on Thursday for the first round and had 550,000 fans through the second round, breaking Day 1 and 2 attendance records set in Nashville five years ago as part of the league's decade-long tour around the country.

The NFL did not charge fans to attend the event in Detroit, though the visitors and area residents were expected to generate more than $160 million in economic impact at sold-out hotels, packed bars and restaurants, as well as retail stores in the heart of downtown.

Former Lions running back Billy Sims was enjoying brisk sales of barbecue from his restaurant under a tent on a sidewalk along Woodward Avenue on Saturday.

"Fans have been great, and business has been good," said Sims, who was drafted by Detroit with the No. 1 overall pick in 1980. "To have the draft here is great for the entire state of Michigan."

The NFL is engaged in some level of talks with 20-plus teams interested in hosting a future draft, which is of particular interest in colder-climate cities that probably can't win a Super Bowl bid.

Green Bay will host next year's draft.

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