Will The NFL Scouting Combine Return To Indianapolis In 2022?

Money talks.

Indianapolis will not host the National Football League annual scouting combine because of the COVID-19 pandemic. But will Indianapolis host the yearly “the probable draftees looking great in t-shirts and shorts show” in 2022? That is a good question. The National Football League has been staging the Scouting Combine in Indianapolis since 1987. The NFL and Indianapolis officials signed a five-year agreement in 2016 to stay in the city, but just three of those years, 2016, 2017 and 2018 were guaranteed. The league had an option to put the combine elsewhere but decided to stick around Indianapolis until 2021. The event seems to bring money into Indianapolis although city officials have never publicly discussed the actual details of the NFL agreement and what Indianapolis is paying the National Football League. Indianapolis is also touting “well the event gives us free publicity and people might come to Indianapolis because of that card”. It should be noted that for decades the Indianapolis 500 was a premiere event that brought people to Indianapolis and gave the city enormous exposure globally. Today the Indy 500 is just another car race although people do flock out to Indianapolis on Memorial Day weekend in a non-COVID-19 world.

The NFL liked Indianapolis for a number of reasons including a cluster of hotels near the stadium where the combine takes place. The NFL’s travel party includes 32 teams, league officials and, of course, the more than 300 players who audition for scouts. But Indianapolis is not a glamour city like Los Angeles or Las Vegas. Both areas have new stadiums which would be available in late February and early March annually although an LA based combine would be in Inglewood and hotel rooms would not be nearby. Money will play into the equation. The best financial deal will get the talent competition.

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (12) works against the New Orleans Saints during the first half of an NFL divisional round playoff football game, Sunday, Jan. 17, 2021, in New Orleans. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)