CLEVELAND (WJW) — With Cleveland soon to be in the spotlight, organizations like the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission are putting the final touches on the city before the NFL Draft.
“With an event of this size, it’s something that you’re constantly preparing,” said Meredith Painter, Director of Marketing and Communications.
That includes increased signage to as they say make it feel like the NFL footprint is all throughout downtown.
“The big thing is too for our visitors. When you touch down at our airport, all the way on your journey into downtown we wanted to really provide a warm welcome, so there’s tons of signage going up,” said Painter.
They’ve also created welcome kits that will go to 200 Cleveland businesses to help them prep for the event.
“So they can help locals get around, they can help visitors with the schedule of events and their staff knows what to expect.”
There are still free tickets available for the NFL Draft Fan Experience that stretches from First Energy Stadium to the Rock Hall.
“With local and state health officials, they have given us the go-ahead to increase capacity, so we’re looking at upwards of about 50,000 people per day in the fan experience which is awesome,” said Painter.
Cleveland will also have three Rock the Clock End Zones for fans to watch the draft downtown including Flats East Bank, Playhouse Square and on Mall C.
“People are encouraged to get takeout from local restaurants, bring them over to these viewing areas. There’s gonna be a stage, a DJ, Mall C will have food trucks,” she said.
The NFL is also hosting community events throughout the week. Students from Davis Aerospace and Maritime High School started a north harbor waterfront cleanup Sunday as part of an NFL green community event partnering with PHASTAR, Port of Cleveland and the Downtown Cleveland Alliance.
Captain Drew Ferguson says this is normally something that’s done during the summer.
“We’re just gonna start it this year for the NFL draft and make sure that many of the pictures that they’re sending around the country, around the world from Cleveland just depict how beautiful the natural resource is and you know remove any eyesores or anything that make the lake look less pleasant,” said Ferguson.
Other events scheduled include the Cleveland Power of Sports Summit.
“It’s a diversity, equity and inclusion summit showcasing how sports can be a catalyst for positive change in our community,” Ferguson added.
Cleveland is working hard to put its best foot forward.
“You really put your heart and soul into making these events great and I think that’s one thing that’s really going to make our community shine on this international platform,” said Painter.