PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — This week will bring the convergence of two major sporting events to Philadelphia: The Penn Relays and the NFL Draft.
The dates for the Penn Relays are set several years ahead and teams book their hotel rooms a year in advance. So Relays director Dave Johnson says changing the date because of a draft overlap was never considered.READ MORE: Philadelphia Children Suffering Long-Lasting, Harmful Impacts Of COVID-19 Pandemic: Report
“Changing the dates is virtually impossible in the track world. These are set almost three and four years ahead of time,” Johnson said. “I think it’s more a matter that the NFL Draft is the same time as the Penn Relays! I mean, we were here first.”
Larry Needle, executive director of PHL Sports, says the NFL wasn’t budging, either.
“The reality is that TV drives the date for the Draft, and it is what it is,” Needle said.READ MORE: Chestnut Hill Hospital To Be Renamed If Sale Goes Through
Mayor Jim Kenney says those TV images of Philadelphia are worth the traffic closures.
“I recognize the inconvenience and I don’t discount it,” the mayor said, “but in three days it’ll be over and we’ll go back to relative normal.”
The first rounds of the Draft are at night, but Needle expects traffic volume to be spread throughout the day, with the public Draft Experience on the Ben Franklin Parkway open from noon to eleven p-m on Thursday and Friday.MORE NEWS: Sheriff's Deputies Dismantle Protest Encampment At Site Of University City Townhomes
“I think you’ll have a staggered flow, both on the in and the out,” Needle said. “And that really helps, I think, to accommodate the crowds that we’re expecting.”