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NFL announces Pittsburgh will host 2026 NFL Draft

Pittsburgh NFL Draft
Pittsburgh will play host to the NFL Draft for the first time in nearly 80 years. (Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports)

NFL announces Pittsburgh will host 2026 NFL Draft

The NFL Draft is headed to the Steel City for the first time in nearly 80 years, as the NFL announced Wednesday that Pittsburgh will play host to the 2026 NFL Draft.

“We are excited that the City of Pittsburgh has been selected to host the 2026 NFL Draft,” Art Rooney II, Pittsburgh Steelers president, said via release. “This will be an amazing event that will highlight everything the region has to offer on a national and international level. 

“I truly appreciate the work that has been done by VisitPITTSBURGH, the NFL, local and state officials, and internally within our organization to accomplish our goal of being selected to host the NFL Draft. We look forward to football fans from all across the country coming to enjoy our city’s culture while also showcasing our rich football history and tradition in the region.”

The Steelers were reportedly one of 10 teams interested in hosting the event for 2026, bidding for the nod in mid-February.

The last time the city hosted an NFL Draft was in 1948, when the draft was held at the Fort Pitt Hotel. The 2024 NFL Draft–which took place from April 25-27–took place in Detroit, Mich. The city broke the NFL Draft attendance record with north of 775K fans showing up in attendance, a near 30 percent increase on the previous record (600K), set during the 2019 Draft in Nashville, Tenn.

The 2025 NFL Draft is expected to take place in Green Bay, Wis.

“Pittsburgh is honored to have been named the host city for the 2026 NFL Draft,” mayor Ed Gainey said via release. “This once in a lifetime opportunity will allow us to showcase our city to an international audience, and it will give us a chance to say to our global fanbase, come on home to Pittsburgh. We are excited for everyone to see the transformation that has taken place, and to see Pittsburgh as more than the City of Champions, but a place where everyone is safe and welcome. A city where everyone has a chance to thrive, and where football erases the boundaries of our 90 neighborhoods, and we become one city, united, to cheer on our beloved Steelers.”

The NFL Draft is one of the most popular events in the football calendar, so this is an amazing opportunity for the city of Pittsburgh. The state of Pennsylvania will also have the 2026 MLB All-Star game and 2026 FIFA World Cup in nearby Philadelphia for fans to experience. The northeast is a spectacle for a lot of teams–including the New York Jets, New York Giants and New England Patriots–as well as the Steelers, so this could potentially conjure up an even bigger crowd as the three-day event continues to popularize.

“The NFL Draft is one of the biggest, most-anticipated sporting events of the year, and we’re thrilled to partner with the Pittsburgh Steelers and VisitPITTSBURGH for our 2026 event,” NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said via release. “We have a unique opportunity to spotlight this wonderful community on a global stage, benefiting Pittsburgh’s economy and entertaining football fans from all markets. We know this pride of Pennsylvania will shine bright in 2026.”

What do you think about Pittsburgh hosting the event, and who do you think should get a nod at hosting the 2027 NFL Draft?

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