NFL Combine Deal a 'Significant Win'

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(Image Courtesy of Lucas Oil Stadium) (Image Courtesy of Lucas Oil Stadium)

The NFL Scouting Combine is staying put in Indianapolis. A five-year deal was signed Friday that will keep the "Super Bowl of Player Development" in the city through 2020. "I'm excited to have completed the multi-year agreement that keeps the NFL Combine in Indianapolis," said Indianapolis-based National Football Scouting President Jeff Foster in a statement to Inside INdiana Business. "I believe it's a significant win for all parties.”

While financial terms were not disclosed, the deal secures the event at Lucas Oil Stadium and the Indiana Convention Center for 2017 and 2018, and provides a series of one-year options through 2020.  "Retaining the NFL Scouting Combine through 2020 is a huge win for Indy, providing $8 million in economic impact annually while attracting more than 1,000 national media," said Visit Indy Vice President Chris Gahl. "We are proud to host this prestigious event."

Once an event that grabbed the attention of a small number of reporters and only the most hard-core NFL fanatics, the Combine has grown into the league's second-biggest media event, behind the Super Bowl. The week-long football extravaganza is now the center of the football universe, covered by hundreds of national media and watched by millions on the NFL Network, which has made it must-see TV for a football-crazy nation.

There was concern Indianapolis might lose the Combine, which this year marks its 30th year in the city. While talk of having cities bid on the Combine is not new, it gained traction this year with the St. Louis Rams recently-announced move to Los Angeles. Rams’ owner Stan Kroencke’s relocation proposal included plans for his new $1.9 billion stadium in Inglewood to play host to the Combine.

But Indianapolis has long been viewed by many as a perfect host for the Combine and the city has worked hard to create a business case for the event that is tough to match. Indianapolis' compact, connected downtown, well-deserved reputation for sports events and medical testing capabilities, including the ability to perform about 400 MRI’s over four days, were all factors in securing the new deal.  

"Indianapolis has been an outstanding host for many years, and being able to extend the relationship into the future is a reflection of the city, its unmatched hospitality and key partners like Visit Indy, IU Health and the Crowne Plaza," said Foster.

This year's NFL Combine will be held February 23-29.

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