A new fan-focused attraction at the NFL Scouting Combine is expected to dramatically increase the number of visitors in downtown Indianapolis next year. Visit Indy Vice President Chris Gahl says the NFL Combine Experience, which will be free for football fans, could bring $2 million in economic impact to the city and an additional 100,000 visitors. The Combine focuses on player evaluations that have been traditionally only open to players and coaches, and included little, if any, opportunity for public involvement.
Gahl says the city has been a year in the making.
"For the last 12 months, we’ve been working hand-in-hand with the NFL to ensure that we’d have the space, the dates and the infrastructure to set up this experience inside the Indiana Convention Center while simultaneously hosting the Combine to make sure the 32 teams get what they need and want from out facilities," said Gahl. "Last year, the NFL Scouting Combine generated $8 million in economic impact for the city. We anticipate this event, with 100,000 extra visitors, to generate $2 million in incremental economic impact."
The NFL Combine Experience will feature a variety of activities for fans, including the chance to watch the bench press, view press conferences and interviews with NFL prospects and autograph sessions with NFL legends. It will also include virtual reality attractions, an obstacle course and youth football clinics.
"We are excited to deliver to our fans new opportunities to be a part of the Scouting Combine, one of our most-anticipated annual events," said NFL Senior Vice President of Events Peter O’Reilly. "With the new NFL Combine Experience, we have re-imagined the event to provide more access for our fans and to create unique ways for them to join the excitement as well as see the next generation of NFL players in Indianapolis."
The experience will also feature Combine Corner, in which fans can participate in various combine drills such as the 40-yard dash, the vertical and broad jumps and the 3-cone drill. The NFL says a select group of fans will be allowed to watch the combine line from inside Lucas Oil Stadium as well.
Earlier this year, the NFL signed a five-year deal to keep the Combine in Indy through 2020.