The 2020 NFL Draft will proceed as usual and will be televised, but all public events surrounding the draft originally scheduled for Las Vegas will be canceled due to the coronavirus outbreak, the NFL announced in a statement Monday.
The draft will take place April 23-25.
“This decision reflects our foremost priority — the health and safety of all fans and citizens,” commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement. “While this outcome is disappointing both to the NFL and to 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.”
The league said it was exploring “innovative options” for how the selection process should proceed but that the process will be televised. It’s not clear how the logistics of the lottery selection process or other factors will work out at the moment.
While all other major sports have shut down and postponed their seasons due to the coronavirus outbreak, including the NBA, MLB, NHL, PGA, MLS and the NCAA canceling its March Madness tournament outright, the NFL has still proceeded with its free agency period that begins Monday. Several star players including Dak Prescott and Ryan Tannehill have already signed major deals.
In Las Vegas, 14 different resorts and hotels along the strip will close on Tuesday to prevent the spread of coronavirus after the CDC recommended that gatherings of 50 or more people be canceled or postponed. Wynn-Encore and MGM International specifically said that all their Vegas properties would shut down.
See the NFL’s full statement below:
Update on the 2020 NFL Draft pic.twitter.com/zeibQdPgWu
— NFL (@NFL) March 16, 2020