Indianapolis will keep the National Football League Scouting Combine for at least another two years, following a vote by the league’s team owners on Tuesday during the NFL’s annual spring meetings in Atlanta.
The owners opted to extend the league’s partnership with the city through 2024, with Indianapolis besting bids from Los Angeles and Dallas to hold onto the event.
The media-saturated combine, which Indianapolis has hosted every year since 1987, serves as a talent and medical evaluation process, as well as a job interview, for 300 or more of the top college prospects before of the NFL Draft.
Peter O’Reilly, NFL executive vice president of club business and league events, said the vote followed a recommendation for approval by an ownership committee focused on league events.
The committee, which includes 10 team owners—one of whom is Jerry Jones Jr., son of Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones—consulted with the league’s executive staff and leaders of the National Invitational Camp, which runs the combine.
“Indy’s vision brings together its long legacy of successfully hosting the Combine and executing the evaluation process, with an exciting focus on innovating and further growing the event from a fan and media perspective,” O’Reilly said in written remarks.
The 2023 combine is slated for Feb. 28 to March 6, while the 2024 event is scheduled for Feb. 27 to March 4.
The Colts, Visit Indy, Indiana Sports Corp., the Capital Improvement Board of Managers and officials in Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett’s administration were directly involved in the bid process.
The event has received growing media attention and TV coverage in recent years, so while it’s not a major financial boon for the city—it generates about $9.6 million in revenue—it is still considered one of Indianapolis’ most important annual events. More than 5,000 league officials, team executives, agents, sponsors and media members flock to the city every year.
The bid process was opened in December 2021 and concluded in April, after the league said in June it would entertain suggestions to move the event around the country as it does with the Super Bowl and the NFL Draft.
Cities were permitted to bid on two, two-year sets—2023 to 2024 and 2025 to 2026—but the owners did not determine which locale would host the latter set, deferring that decision to a future year’s owners meeting.
“We know many cities want to host the NFL Combine, and we’re incredibly appreciative the NFL continues to put its faith in Indy,” said Leonard Hoops, president & CEO of Visit Indy, in written remarks. “And after more than three decades of hosting the Combine, our excitement has only grown when it comes to continuing our work with the NFL and the National Invitational Camp to make the event better every year for all those stakeholders as well as the growing number of fans who want to experience it in person.”
In their bids, Indianapolis, Los Angeles and Dallas shared their ideas on new fan spaces, and answered technical questions about access to medical equipment and personnel, along with information on supportive facilities like hotels and event halls. Dallas sent a contingent to the 2022 event to evaluate what a combine in North Texas would look like ahead of the April 1 deadline for formal bid submissions.
Chris Gahl, vice president of Visit Indy, said Indianapolis’ bid leaned heavily on the city’s longstanding success of hosting the event, along with the fact that all of the venues used for the combine (hotels, Lucas Oil Stadium and the Indiana Convention Center) are connected by skywalks. Indianapolis also provides medical and imaging services due to easy access to Indiana University Health that other venues can’t offer.
The bid also noted an interest in continuing to be welcoming for a smaller group of fans, much like what the city offered this year for the first time by allowing thousands of fans into the stadium’s lower bowl to watch the player workouts. That is expected to continue with the 2023 combine.
As part of the bid, Indianapolis offered a new legacy program led by the Irsay family that would tie directly into the recently-established Kicking the Stigma initiative. The legacy program would benefit Indianapolis residents by helping them find resources to mental health service providers.
Jim Irsay, owner of the Colts, said in a statement he was pleased with the owners’ decision.
“Indy is a city built to host major sporting events, and I’m proud the combine will continue to stay in our city,” he said.
4 thoughts on “NFL Scouting Combine staying in Indianapolis through 2024”
Indy is going to have tow step its game up and provide more things to do downtown while the combine is going on. More live entertainment. No, Indy isn’t Vegas but Indy needs to mimic Vegas as much as possible with interesting things to do besides eating at different restaurants. The city planners need to understand that other cities not only provide a bigger city atmosphere but way more amenities and entertainment. More live entertainment, premier nightclubs and gentlemen clubs. There needs to be something to do and spend money on downtown than your usual dinning and sports bar. Indy likes to brag about walkable downtown and connections of skywalks but outside of that,Indy is a typical city and that’s where it needs to improve on. Even a version of Nashville’s Broadway st would help Indys image to keep things like the combine. There’s no beaches or high roller clubs or any real sophisticated adult entertainment venues to entertain the high profile guest visiting
More gentlemen’s clubs? I’d be surprised if that were a big selling point for this event.
What does any of that have to do with Indy’s City Planners? Most of downtown is already zoned for those uses. Their failure to materialize is not due to poor planning decisions.
This event will go to LA whenever the Rams want it. The NFL promised this event to the Rams owner for moving the team to LA and getting a stadium built. This is not a big secret.