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City of Pittsburgh excited for economic impact of hosting 2026 NFL Draft

Pittsburgh officially to host 2026 NFL Draft
Pittsburgh officially to host 2026 NFL Draft 00:54

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- You call the city Picks-burgh. The NFL announced that the Steel City will be getting the 2026 draft.

The draft is expected to bring hundreds of thousands of people to the city. It's something they've been planning for some time and are excited to see.

Some estimations have the draft bringing at least 300,000 people to Pittsburgh. This past April in Detroit, it brought 775,000.  

"It's going to be great. It's going to be one of the biggest events the city has ever seen," Strip District Business Association member Jim Coen said.

While the marquee is the player draft, there will be other events during that weekend. It's estimated the city will see $120-160 million in revenue. According to Forbes, in 2023, Kansas City generated about $165 million, with more than 310,000 people attending the draft. 

It's hoped the money will flow beyond just the North Shore and Downtown.

"All through even the Strip District, you're going to see activities," said Sen. Wayne Fontana, a member of the Sports and Exhibition Authority.

We may have two years to wait, but it's never too early to start planning.

Restaurants and businesses are now starting the process of finding the products they may need along with adjusting hours.

"Just brick by brick, to just get to those goals you want to reach in two years," Redbeard's Bar and Grille general manager Brent Kightlinger said.

While the draft will celebrate NFL players, the goal of hosting an event like this is to sell the city to tourists. For many people, this may be their first time here. 

The work begins with promoting the attractions.

"They're going to see our Cultural District. They're going to know about our world-class museums [and] our renowned restaurants," Sen. Fontana said over Zoom.

It's expected any hotel near the North Shore or Downtown will be booked solid.

"Bringing all these others from other parts of the country and other parts of the world, once they see this city, they're going to fall in love with it," Coen said.

There will be plenty of prep work between now and then.

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