NEW YORK >> The 2015 NFL draft will be held in Chicago, the league announced Thursday.
Hours after the Bears posted an announcement on their Twitter account, the NFL confirmed the draft will move to Chicago on April 30-May 2. It will be held Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University.
The draft was held in Chicago in 1938, 1942-44, 1951, and 1962-64.
“Chicago is pleased to welcome the 2015 NFL draft to America’s heartland,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “Next year, NFL fans from across the country will travel here or tune in as the future of their team is decided in Chicago.”
Moving the draft out of New York, where it has been held for decades, was likely once the league began taking bids for the event. Los Angeles and Chicago were the finalists for next year’s event.
The NFL soured on Radio City Music Hall after it was forced to move the draft back two weeks into May this year. But under Commissioner Roger Goodell, the league also has considered moving around the draft for a while.
“We are excited to have fans from throughout the Midwest experience the NFL draft,” said Goodell. “We look forward to returning the event to the city of Chicago and working with the city, Choose Chicago, and the Chicago Sports Commission to create a weeklong celebration of football for our fans.”
The Auditorium Theatre opened in 1889 and has hosted operas, concerts, musicals and ballets. Presidents Theodore Roosevelt and William McKinley gave speeches at the theatre.
–Barry Wilner / Associated Press