The league’s centerpiece sits on the fountain waters of Bellagio and Caesars Palace

Whether it’s the arrival of the Raiders in 2020, the Pro Bowl in 2021, or the future site of Super Bowl LVIII in 2024, Las Vegas has become a major center of activity for the National Football League. Still considered one of the most ambitious productions on the league schedule, the 2022 NFL Draft takes place in Sin City this weekend. Fans at home and in person will be dazzled and entertained, and it’s a testament to the hard work of NFL Media’s production and operations teams.

NFL Media’s Dave Shaw (left) and Adam Acone on the Bellagio and Caesars Palace floating fountain set

“We try to have a presence that shows the flavor of the city,” says Dave Shaw, Vice President/Head of Media Operations, NFL Media. “It’s going to be an amazing show, and we’ve given our fans a really great event to enjoy.”


Planning in the desert: operations mixes new ideas with the original idea of ​​2020

Every NFL Draft is meticulously sketched out in advance, but this year’s edition had the longest time in terms of planning. It was to be held in April 2020, and NFL Media Senior Director, Media Operations, Adam Acone and the rest of his team began developing the plan for this show in early 2019. After extensive site surveys on and off the Strip, the team began the next stage of bringing the concept to fruition. Then the COVID-19 pandemic halted the plan and prevented further progress on the project, moving to an entirely virtual draft. Even though the logistics, digital renders and original ideas have aged over the two years, the focus on the Las Vegas project has remained the same.

The Red Carpet show and other entertainment will feature South Las Vegas Blvd.

“We started coming back here in early fall 2021, and a lot of the setup was still the same,” says Acone. “The overall planning from an event perspective hadn’t changed much, but the Bellagio fountain became our anchor point to showcase Las Vegas.”

Some highlights of the 2020 plan were not included in the final edition, including players are escorted to the red carpet stage by boat. Although this article was left on the cutting room floor, NFL Media is taking highly visible real estate at the corner of South Las Vegas Boulevard and West Flamingo Road. The centerpiece of the activation is a large stage that floats in front of the famous fountain. The structure will host the pre-project red carpet and other performances that capture the essence and eccentricity of the city. Further down the road, the NFL Network main set is another stage floating above the surface of the water with the facade of Caesars Palace as a dramatic backdrop. Through diligent work with Filmwerks, who built the two sets, and a team of specialists who dive underwater to maintain the Bellagio’s fountains, the set gradually came into being piece by piece.


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