Cleveland transforms into hub for NFL fans from across the country

Published: Apr. 30, 2021 at 10:29 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - We’re about halfway through the festivities along Cleveland’s lakeshore for the NFL Draft. Businesses downtown have been giving us glowing remarks about how happy they are to have people back in the city and it’s not just people from Northeast Ohio, Cleveland has transformed into a hub for fans from all around the country.

“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime chance of really getting up close to see the athletes and seeing the people and just wanted to experience this experience of being out here with the players,” said Mark Mobley, a Detroit Lions Fan. “I love sports so I couldn’t pass it up.”

Mark Mobley and Doris Anyim made the trip from Detroit.

“He puts the fan in fanatic, so we just went ahead and came down because it’s so close and it’s just once in a lifetime,” said Anyim.

It’s the first large-scale event we’ve seen in Cleveland since the start of the pandemic and lots of people traveled to be here.

“Just the atmosphere, just being around people again after COVID, I’m vaccinated so I feel secure and safe and happy,” said Mobley.

“I go to Grove City College in Grove City, PA and I have some friends there that are from Cleveland and they were super excited that the draft was in their city, so we came out for the weekend to enjoy the draft and it’s been a cool experience so far,” said Ayden Gutierrez, a Minnesota Vikings fan.

For Michael Flowers, going to the NFL draft is a long-time tradition. He’s a Dallas Cowboys fan and with the exception of 2020, he hasn’t missed a draft in more than a decade.

“Well, me and my two buddies go every year we’ve been doing it for the past 15 years,” explained Flowers. “We were friends forever and played football in high school and everything, grew up together so. It’s funny you got two Eagles fans, like I said I grew up a Cowboys fan.”

From the swag, to the games, to the food, drinks, and entertainment, NFL fans say it’s an experience they will never forget.

“Just the different teams you know I’m a Vikings fan, go Vikes but I haven’t seen any Vikings fans but there’s fans from all over so it’s kinda cool,” said Gutierrez.

“Just wanted to come to the NFL draft,” said Sam Crocci, a Buffalo Bills fan. “It seemed like an awesome experience. Only a few hours down the road and so far, everything’s been awesome, it’s incredible.”

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