Indianapolis, NFL Scouting Combine finalize 5-year contract

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Jan. 23, 2016) – In what is viewed as a win-win resolution for all parties, a contract has been signed that will keep the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis through 2020.

Chris Gahl vice president of Visit Indy, confirmed Saturday a five-year deal was finalized late last week to retain the NFL’s annual evaluation of draft-eligible college players. The deal cements the combine’s financial commitment this year and in ’17, and includes one-year extension options for ’18, ’19 and ’20.

The city has hosted the combine since 1987.

“We do look at this as a win-win,’’ Gahl said. “The combine has been a positive for both of us for a long time, and now we have something in place for the next five years.

“We basically had been working on a year-to-year contract. The combine and the NFL were seeking a longer-term agreement because of the logistics involved and putting on an event the size of the combine. This allows everyone involved to know the dates are secure and the venue is secure. It allows for longer-term planning.

“It allows the city and the combine the opportunity to keeping marching forward.’’

“I’m excited to have completed the multi-year agreement and I believe it’s a significant win for all parties,’’ said Jeff Foster, president of the locally-based National Scouting Combine.

“Indianapolis has been an outstanding host for many years, and being able to extend the relationship into the future is a reflection of the city and key partners like Visit Indy, IU Health and the Crowne Plaza.’’

The combine again takes over downtown, most notably Lucas Oil Stadium, the Crowne Plaza and more than a dozen other hotels, Feb. 23-29.

The magnitude of the event can’t be overstated.

Visit Indy estimates the combine brings in approximately $8.27 million in annual revenue. Nearly 2,000 NFL owners, coaches, general managers and league personnel attend the event that brings in approximately 300 draft-eligible players for exhaustive evaluation.

Also figuring into the equation is the ever-increasing media presence. About 1,000 credentials were issued last year. The only NFL event that draws a larger media contingent: the Super Bowl.

“It’s really hard to place a value on the combine,’’ Gahl said. “It really is invaluable. To have NFL owners, NFL coaches and A-lists of sports media in your city for four days creates a buzz that is hard to replicate with any other event, potentially minus the Super Bowl.

“It’s the quality of visitor to the city, not necessarily the quantity, although the number of visitors is impressive. There’s an economic win, but of equal value there’s the marketing value of hosting this. When you put those two together, it’s invaluable.’’

As the combine has increased in importance from a marketing standpoint, other cities have attempted to lure it away from Indianapolis. Officials associated with the Rams’ recent relocation to Los Angeles mentioned the possibility of holding the combine on the West Coast.

“We worked with a sense of urgency to retain the combine,’’ Gahl said. “We know that other cities are eyeing the event and attempting to turn the attention of the NFL and the combine toward their city. We don’t take their business for granted.’’

You can follow Mike Chappell on Twitter at @mchappell51.