2026 NFL Draft to be hosted by Pittsburgh; Steel City gets the consolation prize

Cold weather cities without a domed stadium will not get the Super Bowl game, but there is always a chance that the NFL Draft extravaganza could come to town in the spring.
The 2026 NFL Draft will be in Pittsburgh
The 2026 NFL Draft will be in Pittsburgh / Perry Knotts/GettyImages

The City of Pittsburgh might not ever host a Super Bowl due to their cold climate in the winter and their lack of an indoor stadium, but that won't keep the Steel City from partying like its 2026 when the NFL Draft rolls into town two years from now.

The NFL announced that the 2026 NFL Draft will take place in Pittsburgh, incorporating elements of iconic Point State Park as well as Acrisure Stadium, home of the Pittsburgh Steelers. The announcement was made Wednesday at the NFL Spring League Meeting in Nashville, following a review of Pittsburgh's bid proposal by the Fan Engagement & Major Events Advisory Committee and full ownership.

"The NFL Draft is one of the biggest, most-anticipated sporting events of the year, and we're thrilled to partner with the Pittsburgh Steelers and VisitPITTSBURGH for our 2026 event. We have a unique opportunity to spotlight this wonderful community on a global stage, benefiting Pittsburgh's economy and entertaining football fans from all markets. We know this pride of Pennsylvania will shine bright in 2026."

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell

Throughout the three-day event, Pittsburgh will host a slate of Draft activities including a variety of community events, Concert Series and NFL Draft Experience – the NFL's ultimate fan festival.

Draft Experience will be free for fans, inviting them to participate in immersive exhibits and games; take photos with the Vince Lombardi Trophy; enjoy the youth-focused Play 60 Zone; shop exclusive merchandise at NFL Shop; and score autographs from current NFL players and Legends.

"We are excited that the City of Pittsburgh has been selected to host the 2026 NFL Draft. This will be an amazing event that will highlight everything the region has to offer on a national and international level. I truly appreciate the work that has been done by VisitPITTSBURGH, the NFL, local and state officials, and internally within our organization to accomplish our goal of being selected to host the NFL Draft. We look forward to football fans from all across the country coming to enjoy our city's culture while also showcasing our rich football history and tradition in the region."

Steelers President Art Rooney II

The Steelers had submitted bids for both 2026 and 2027. Goodell had a phone conference with Rooney, Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro and state legislators on Wednesday to inform them of the decision by the league.

"We think it'll be the largest visitor event in the history of Pittsburgh, hosting hundreds of thousands of people and really football fans from all over the country -- certainly Steelers Nation from all over the country. We just look forward to hosting that, and it'll be an exciting time."

Steelers President Art Rooney II

The NFL Draft has become the league's biggest offseason event. Since 2015, more than 3 million fans across the country have attended Draft festivities in person.

Most recently, the 2024 NFL Draft in Detroit attracted a record-breaking 775,000 fans in person and garnered more than 53.6 million total viewers over three days.

The Steelers began formulating their plan to host several years ago, Rooney said, but solidified the pitch in the last year. And, of course, hosting an outdoor event in Pittsburgh, even in late April, can be a challenge with the city's unpredictable -- and often damp -- spring weather.

With this past draft being held in Detroit, cold weather cities have proven to be good hosts come draft time when the weather is more mild. Pittsburgh plays in an outdoor stadium so the chances of them hosting a Super Bowl are slim to none. However, Rooney believes that the weather plays a factor in everything the league does and the City of Pittsburgh will be prepared either way.

"You have to be ready for the weather and be prepared. Obviously if they could do it in Detroit and Green Bay, we can do it in Pittsburgh."

Steelers President Art Rooney II

The 2025 NFL Draft presented by Bud Light will take place in Green Bay at Lambeau Field and Titletown on April 24-26, 2025.