In contrast to last year, the 2021 NFL Draft will be broadcast live from Cleveland. But while fans will be allowed to attend, there will be a limit on how many.
The NFL announced on Friday that the number of fans allowed to attend will be capped at 50,000. NFL Executive Vice President of Club Business & League Events Peter O'Reilly believes that number works for the protocols they have in place.
O'Reilly said that the NFL learned a lot from Super Bowl LV and can now ensure that live events don't spread COVID-19. He made sure to note that mask-wearing will be a requirement.
“We have every confidence in our protocols that are in place,” O’Reilly said, via ProFootballTalk. “We learned so much from what we did at the Super Bowl, where we were able to do a free, outdoor Super Bowl Experience... We have very clear data working with our partners to show that our events did not cause any spread during the season, and we have that confidence here. Those protocols are very real and very enforced. So critical is the mask-wearing, and that will be heavily enforced throughout the draft.”
The COVID-19 pandemic forced the NFL to pull an audible and make the NFL Draft virtual last year.
Thankfully, the introduction of a vaccine combined with proper safety protocols has made it possible for us to get some return to normalcy.
The 2021 NFL Draft will start on Thursday and will air on the NFL Network.