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‘Draft Town’ no more: NFL heading to Philadelphia, per reports

Chicago hosted the NFL Draft for two years. (Getty Images)

What was presumed months ago will become official Thursday, when Philadelphia is rewarded next year’s NFL draft. The official announcement will take place in Philadelphia’s City Hall, according to reports.

The Auditorium Theatre hosted the draft the previous two years, its first foray outside of Manhattan, its home for 50 years. But organizers assumed, even before the 2016 version, that the NFL planned to look outside Chicago for 2017.

Kara Bachman, the Chicago Sports Commission’s executive director, said in April that draft would likely return to the city at some point after 2017. She said Chicago “submitted interest and have had discussions with the NFL about staying in the mix” for the event, which the league wants to rotate among cities.

The NFL estimated about 200,000 fans attended the three-day event, which featured a “Draft Town” fan festival in Grant Park, in 2015. The league claimed 225,000 were on hand in April despite a rain-soaked third day.