INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – For the first time in 30 years, the NFL is opening its doors to the NFL combine, and letting fans get a taste of the action.
This week, at the Indiana Convention Center, fans can run a 40-yard dash, catch balls from a chute, and get up close to championship rings.
It’s all part of the 2017 NFL combine. “I’m really, specifically excited to see what other people want to try out. I mean, I may get in a Chicago Bears jersey,” NFL fan, Ed Bailey said. “I’ll let the fan come out for a little bit.”
“I’d like to compete, but I don’t think they’ll let me,” NFL combine vendor, Matt Arciuiolo said. You won’t be able to compete, but you can see what it’s like to try out.
It’s a change Visit Indy says was a long time coming.
“For years, fans have been craving an experience like this,” Visit Indy Senior Vice President, Chris Gahl said. “We know that from our research. People from outside Indianapolis, travel to Indianapolis each year just to catch a glimpse.”
You might think because it’s in the Circle City, the event is geared towards Colts fans. Visit Indy said that’s not so. In fact, it spent marketing dollars in Chicago, Detroit, Cincinnati, and Cleveland to try and attract fans of other teams to travel to Indianapolis.
“We’re hoping to see an uptick in heads in beds this weekend, and more people experiencing the combine,” Gahl said.
Visit Indy says 70,000 people could visit the combine experience. Previously, the event was only used for the top college players to perform drills, and interview with teams.
The NFL is signed up to stay in the Circle City for the next three years. But with this new experience, Visit Indy, and fans hope to see it go well beyond 2020.
“If you love football, basketball, or sports in general downtown Indy is the place to be,” Bailey said.
The event starts Thursday and runs through Sunday. It’s free to get in, but you must register. For more information, click here.