NFL Draft will have free parking; LVCVA to pay more to stage event

The Las Vegas Monorail (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)

The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority is used to telling the world about the city being the “Entertainment Capital of the World” and “The Greatest Arena on Earth.”

Now, it plans to do a little something for locals and anyone else planning to attend.

On the days of the NFL Draft, April 28-30, the LVCVA will offer free parking at Las Vegas Convention Center lots so that people attending draft festivities can ride the Las Vegas Monorail to venues near The Linq where the main stage will be set up for the initial introduction of drafted players.

Nevada residents also can show their drivers license that enables them to buy a $20 ticket for 20 Monorail rides. With a monorail station at the Convention Center, that means those residents attending the draft can ride the Monorail to the Linq station for just a buck.

For the LVCVA, draft preparations are costing more, and the authority’s board of directors on Tuesday voted unanimously to pay an additional $525,000 to pay for those expenses.

LVCVA President and CEO Steve Hill explained that the cost of materials and services has risen since Las Vegas initially was to host the draft in 2020.

In addition, more draftees are expected to attend the event in person than in past years, increasing transportation costs.

On Feb. 11, 2020, the board directors authorized the expenditure of $2.4 million for draft expenses. That pays for programming, permitting, transportation and related operational requirements of the National Football League.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 NFL Draft occurred as a broadcast-only event with no fans in attendance. The NFL then awarded the 2022 event to Las Vegas as a replacement.

“While the budget for the 2020 NFL Draft included public safety-related expenditures, rising costs of materials and services, such as security bollards and traffic barricades, as well as the need for additional transportation and security protocols due to higher-than-anticipated attendance of NFL prospects and other guests, have increased the necessary expenditures,” Hill said.

LVCVA Chief Operating Officer Brian Yost said more prospects attending will increase fuel costs and security.

“This is Las Vegas and everybody wants to be a part of it, and the NFL currently is estimating 23 prospects in person at the event which, depending on the past city, is between five and seven more than the past two drafts,” he said.

Drafted players, after being introduced on the main stage by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, will be transported to the red carpet stage atop the lake at Bellagio where newly drafted players will be interviewed.

Contact Richard N. Velotta at rvelotta@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3893. Follow @RickVelotta on Twitter.