Skift Take

Detroit is taking advantage of the NFL Draft to say it's a great place for tourism.

As excitement builds for the NFL Draft, Detroit is trying to entice football fans to get off the couch to explore the city.

Detroit is hosting the 2024 NFL Draft from April 25 to 27. Pure Michigan, Michigan Economic Development Corporation and Visit Detroit, the city’s tourism board, are launching a marketing campaign this Monday.

It stars Detroit-native Sam Richardson, the Emmy Award winning actor and comedian who played Richard Splett in HBO’s Veep and currently plays various characters on the Netflix sketch comedy, I Think You Should Leave with Tim Robinson.  

In the ad, Richardson stops by Detroit businesses and iconic attractions like record shop Paramita Sound and diner Lafayette Coney Island. Former Detroit Lions running back Barry Sanders also appears.

“From music and culture, to art and architecture, food and innovation, Detroit has a style that continues to influence the world,” said Claude Molinari, president and CEO of Visit Detroit. “This campaign offers a glimpse of that through the eyes of iconic Detroiters, and we hope visitors will experience it for themselves around the draft and beyond.”

The ad has 15 second and 30 second spots that will run across Amazon, ABC, Barstool Sports, ESPN, Meta, and TikTok from April 15 through May 22.

The city has been drumming up excitement ahead of the the NFL’s’s annual event. On Wednesday, the government unveiled a large “Detroit” sign on a major interstate highway entering the city.

About 312,000 fans attended the NFL Draft in Kansas City last year, according to the NFL. Over 54 million people in the U.S. tuned in to watch the event. 

Detroit’s Urban Renewal

Detroit filed for bankruptcy in 2013 at a time of high crime, rising unemployment, a struggling auto sector and a dwindling population.

Ten years later, the city has shown signs of new life. Detroit’s lower cost of living compared to historically popular cities like New York City and Boston has become a draw for ambitious young people.

“In cites like Detroit, there’s kind of a whole urban renewal happening that’s being driven by young people and therefore is attracting young people to come visit,” said Yves Marceau, vice president of product for G Adventures, in 2023. “Detroit is becoming the place to be for something because it’s affordable.”


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Tags: michigan, pure michigan, tourism

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