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Why is the 2017 NFL draft outdoors in Philadelphia?

All of the rounds will take place outdoors on the steps of the Art Museum.

NFL: 2017 NFL Draft James Lang-USA TODAY Sports

The 2017 NFL draft gets started on Thursday evening, and the venue will be the first of its kind for a draft. For the first time in history, the draft will take place outdoors. This year, the draft will take place at an outdoor theater on the steps of Philadelphia’s Art Museum, which sits right sits right outside of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, making this year’s venue look quite different than years past.

The Art Museum steps are some you’ve probably seen before — they are they same steps from the movie Rocky where Sylvester Stallone famously triumphed at the top.

Inaugural Street Soccer USA Philadelphia Cup Photo by Bill McCay/Getty Images for Street Soccer USA

According to, the museum steps were the decided centerpiece given their significance to the city.

"Standing on those steps and seeing that this is such a heroic moment, this is a culmination for these [draft picks], we set out on, 'Could we create a theater? Could we build a theater here?’” Peter O'Reilly, the NFL's senior vice president of events, said.


"We know it's going to be complicated. We know it's going to be audacious. But this is what we have to do, and the Parkway itself was natural. It's a home to so many iconic events over the years."

Part of the inspiration to hold the draft outdoors started in Chicago, which hosted both the 2015 and 2016 drafts. The city added an outdoor fan experience that the general public could attend.

In 2017, the city of Philadelphia is taking that idea and making it much bigger. To actually sit in front of the stage, tickets are required. But the area outside and around where the actual draft takes place is all open-air. Philadelphia’s Official Visitor site’s map shows just how big the area surrounding the stage is. The blue icon with the star on it is where the stage is.

Via Discover Philadelphia

According to, the NFL Draft Experience is free to the general public, and consists of “25 football fields of action.”

Fans should expect thrilling activities like a 100-yard zip line, interactive exhibits like NFL Virtual Reality, awesome memorabilia in an NFL Museum, photo ops with the Vince Lombardi Trophy and access to view media interviews with NFL greats.

The Philadelphia NFL Draft event is slated to be the largest fan experience ever produced by NFL.

One of the cool things about the theater itself is that it’s open-ended, which will give fans along the parkway the opportunity to see what’s happening on stage.

As far as some of the other logistics go, the NFL executives will be at the Franklin Institute, which lies down the Parkway on the other side of the NFL Draft Experience. The prospects’ green room is located backstage during the draft. When their names are called, they will walk down the famous steps to greet NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell with a handshake.

The view from this year’s draft will definitely be unique, and it’ll be interesting to see what it will look like having the whole thing outdoors.

The good news for the fans, as well as everyone involved with planning this whole thing outside, is that there isn’t much rain in the forecast over the next few days. According to The Weather Channel, there is just a 20 percent chance of rain with a low of 64 degrees for Thursday night. On Friday evening, the chance of rain is the same with a low of 63. The forecast for Saturday is mainly cloudy with a high of 86 degrees, with the same 20 percent chance of rain.