Restoring the Roar at Chicago’s NFL Draft Town

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If you follow me on social media then you know where I was last night… NFL Draft Town! The event itself was incredible, taking over Grant Park for 900,000 square feet of football fandom. There were flashing lights, cameras everywhere, tents, beers on beers on beers, drinking games on garbage cans, family activities, kicking contests, a Lions Den and so much more. Such a neat event to experience in my city!

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CHI-TOWN IS DRAFT TOWN | NFL Draft 2015

The NFL draft has always been fun for me as it is a hybrid of the two worlds – NCAA Football & NFL. I’m more of a college fan (duh, I went to Alabama – Roll Tide), but I can’t help but love the lovable Detroit Lions. It didn’t take long for us to find our pride at the Lions Den.

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Lions Den | NFL Draft 2015

As a social media manager by trade, I was super excited to see social media and social sharing so well integrated into the event. Everywhere you looked was a strategically placed social sharing opp. It was fantastic. There was the “Best Seat in the House” by Xfinity:

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And, a somewhat poorly executed Signing Day photo opp. We waited in a pretty long line to get a photo posed at the podium as if we were just selected as Lions Draft Pick (it’s funny what live events will make you want to have a photo of). After waiting at the long line, we were disappointed that it wasn’t more. It just ended up being a picture of us awkwardly holding up a jersey while standing on a stage. But, whatevs. All in fun.

IMG_0210IMG_0209This was my first time being an event where Snapchat had a feed going. You could submit your photos to the ‘My NFL Draft Story’ feed or just post to your own feed. They had a few graphic overlays to select – these were our favorites.

The internet connection was sometimes shotty as their were thousands of people all using their phones. But, here and there you would get through.

Social media was so well integrated, they even had a social media command center, called “The Huddle” located at the end of the tunnel. You could peak in at the employees working hard at navigating the interwebs to share the latest picks and engage with fans who were using the draft hashtag #drafttown and #nfldraft.

And these awesome improvements on “Face in Hole” cardboard cut-outs that made me into the fierce Lions wide receiver Golden Tate. It took us forever to find the Lions player – but he was there! Every team was represented with these statuettes posted all around Grant Park.

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Me as Golden Tate | NFL Draft 2015

There was so much to see and do, but you can’t forget the main event itself – the actual NFL Draft! The main stage had an enormous screen projecting the image from the live draft going on just down the street at Roosevelt Auditorium. After the announcements, some of the players who were in Chicago for the draft came down to Draft Town to say hello to all the fans. I caught this picture right before the Lions traded their #23 pick to the Denver Broncos for #28.

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It was getting pretty cold, so we found our way back to the Lions Den. Nice little photo opp there. Made friends with the tent operator, Jeff. If you head down there this weekend – you should stop by and say hello. There you can get some Detroit Lions swag and take a pic like this:

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Before we left, we took a moment to enjoy the musical talents of the Chicago Bears Drumline. This character in front had a thing for me, I think. 😉 It was super fun. Music, lots of people gathered around & lots of beverages being consumed. Obviously this quickly escalated to a dance party.

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As the sun set on the first night of the NFL Draft, we were impressed again by the Chicago skyline and all it’s beauty. And I am reminded, I get to live here!

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