The NFL is planning to move the 2020 draft out of Las Vegas and into a studio in light of the coronavirus pandemic, Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times reports.
A blueprint for the draft hasn't been finalized, but the league has reportedly decided against trying to keep it in Las Vegas as a scaled-down event. The NFL would look to feature live cut-ins from team headquarters as they make picks on the broadcast.
The NFL had events lined up across the Las Vegas Strip throughout draft week but was forced to cancel them because of the spread of COVID-19. The league had also arranged for boats to carry players across the Bellagio Hotel fountain to the draft stage upon being selected, but that won't happen either.
The NFL isn't planning to postpone the draft, which is scheduled to begin April 23. In-person visits between prospects and teams have been shut down because of the virus outbreak.
In a memo obtained by the newspaper, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell implored league employees to think outside the box as they redesign one of its marquee events.
"Planning for the draft is a good example of how we need to think differently, embrace technology, and collaborate," he wrote. "We will also use the draft to help support fans and those people impacted in our communities. While there have been changes to the way we work and some of our plans, we have an unwavering commitment to upholding the NFL's legacy of unifying and lifting the spirit of America, and bringing out the best in our fans and in our communities around the world. You'll hear more from us in the days and weeks ahead about how we intend to demonstrate that commitment well beyond our fields. And I hope you'll share your ideas on how we can do that."
The Las Vegas draft was particularly anticipated given the Raiders' relocation from Oakland as of this coming season.
The 2021 NFL Draft has already been assigned to Cleveland.