Detroit Mayor Duggan tells fans to arrive early for the NFL Draft

Nearly 300,000 fans are expected to attend night one of the 2024 NFL Draft on Thursday in downtown Detroit.

A QLine train wrapped in NFL Draft messaging.

A QLine train wrapped in NFL Draft messaging.

City of Detroit officials estimate around 300,000 people could be in attendance for the first round of the 2024 NFL Draft on Thursday. While round one will most likely be the busiest day, large crowds are also expected Friday and Saturday.

The event’s main footprint will be centered around Campus Martius in downtown Detroit — the draft main stage is located in Cadillac Square and the NFL Draft Experience fan zone is in Hart Plaza. Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan says those hoping to watch the event in-person should plan ahead.

“Unless you’re going to be here at 9 or 10 in the morning, the idea of driving into downtown and parking is probably not realistic,” said Duggan.

Listen: What you need to know when planning to attend the NFL Draft

The main stage area will not be the only location in the city to watch the draft. Activities are planned in Greektown, Corktown and Capitol Park — with dozens of video screens around the city broadcasting the event.

Draft organizers advise people to think about transit methods they don’t typically use to bring them into the fray. Detroit will operate shuttles from three lots to bring fans up to the draft perimeter, while SMART shuttles from the suburbs and ride sharing services like Uber and Lyft are also an option.

Read: Beware of parking scams ahead of NFL Draft, Michigan AG warns

Once fans arrive south of I-75, Mayor Duggan expects moving from one area to another could prove to be a challenge.

“If you want to go from Capitol Park to Greektown, I think a lot of folks here are going to discover something called the Detroit People Mover,” Duggan said, referring to the city’s one-way loop transit system in operation since 1987.

Duggan believes the elevated rail system circling downtown will prove to be a better option than pushing through crowds of people along Woodward Avenue. The People Mover will be operating around the clock during NFL Draft weekend.

For those who do want to make it into the main stage area, gates will open at noon on Thursday and Friday, and open at 9 a.m. on Saturday.

Trusted, accurate, up-to-date.

WDET strives to make our journalism accessible to everyone. As a public media institution, we maintain our journalistic integrity through independent support from readers like you. If you value WDET as your source of news, music and conversation, please make a gift today.

Donate today »


  • Alex McLenon
    Alex McLenon is a Reporter with 101.9 WDET. McLenon is a graduate of Wayne State University, where he studied Media Arts & Production and Broadcast Journalism.