Skip to main content

What a week! We’re still smiling after a surreal couple of days at the NFL Draft in Detroit. Our city shined so bright! It was indescribable to stand in a sea of 275,000 people on Thursday night and watch the whole scene unfold AGAIN from a client’s office overlooking Campus Martius on Friday.

Our takeaways:

  • Detroit showed up! Not only did we shatter attendance records, but we also rolled out the red carpet and gave visitors – from near and far – an unforgettable experience. The hospitality industry absolutely delivered. The People Mover and QLine ran smoothly and helped move people around downtown safely and efficiently. Event staff and law enforcement made visitors feel welcome and safe. The weather even cooperated. 😎
  • This wasn’t just fun – it was a boon for business. Event organizers and economists agree the net economic impact of the three-day event will be between $150-$175 million, with more than $100 million directly in Detroit. Hotels had record revenue, small businesses showcased their products to new audiences and more than 60 Detroit-based businesses were involved with Draft events in some way.
  • People were saying nice things about Detroit! Visitors described Detroit as welcoming, safe, clean, surprising and electric.
  • The real impact is in the ripple effect. As communicators, we were PUMPED to see a familiar face in the Wall Street Journal last week, not only talking about the NFL Draft but encouraging people to spend more time in Detroit. This kind of national media campaign is exactly what Detroit needs to stay top-of-mind with prospective visitors (and future residents!). Mayor Duggan said interest in Detroit has already gone up dramatically and Visit Detroit CEO Claude Molinari said the city will host an NBA or NHL All-Star weekend in the future. We can’t wait!

The Franco team had a blast promoting long-time client STAHLS’, the Michigan-based company that has worked behind the scenes at the NFL Draft since 2012, personalizing jerseys for the first-round picks. We look for new ways to tell the STAHLS’ story each year, so when we learned the 2024 event would be held in Detroit, we started making big plans to promote the global pioneer of innovation that started in a Detroit garage more than 90 years ago.

Our PR campaign was a success, with more than 500 media placements in the last few weeks – most notably, a national story from the Associated Press, a front-page story in The Detroit News and a really fun segment with WXYZ-TV that aired just before the national live broadcast of the NFL Draft began.

So, what’s next for Detroit? For starters, check out Movement Music Festival at Hart Plaza, May 25-27. Follow that up with a weekend of racing at the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix, May 31-June 2, back on the streets of downtown Detroit. And get ready to applaud quietly at the Rocket Mortgage Golf Classic coming to the Detroit Golf Club, June 25-30 (tickets on sale May 6!).

For more on Detroit’s renaissance, check out this recent article in PR News where I share a bit about storytelling to rebrand a reputation. And come back to our Franco blog and social channels for more about the city we love. 💙

It’s a great time to be in Detroit!

Tina Kozak is Owner and CEO at Franco. Connect with her on LinkedIn.