NFL Draft 2022

September 21, 2023

NFL Draft

CEMA Study Tour April 27-29, 2022

The 2022 NFL Draft Event from a Meeting Planner Perspective

Tyler Davidson

Excerpts from the article below. Click here for the entire article.

Caesars Entertainment’s program featured participation from CEMA, an 800-member-strong association of meeting and events professionals that frequently participates in Study Tours to high-profile events such as the NFL Draft.

“As event organizers and planners, we don’t often get the opportunity to go get an exclusive look at something so prestigious as this, and how it’s built from the ground up, and how it measures for success,” said Angie Smith, head of experiential events and field marketing for global software company Atlassian, who participated in the CEMA Study Tour. “With them being in a completely different vertical than us, it’s important for CEMA to offer these opportunities, because there’s so many parallels in how we do things, but at the same time it’s very different.”

Smith said one major insight she had was the almost never-ending cycle of the event.

“We commonly think of NFL sports being a seasonal thing, but they have been able to monetize and engage their viewers 12 months a year, and craft experiences to create the next generation of viewers—they just don’t stop,” she said. “I think the parallel in my world is we don’t create an event to be a moment in time. I’m in charge of creating leads and generating pipelines 365 days a year as well.

“[The NFL is] finding the next generation of fans, and I’m just trying to find the next buyer of a product,” she added. “To take a step out of what you do every day and see how it’s done in another industry lets you walk away kind of on a high and full of inspiration.”

As with probably most of the Study Tour participants, the sheer number of activations—such as the multi-day NFL Draft Experience filled with fan experiences and memorabilia for sale—while managing the pressure of staging a live broadcast was the most impressive aspect of the event.

“It’s so different when you’re activating across an entire city,” she said. “It was happening in like 20 different venues throughout the city at the same time. To get it right was just fascinating.”

“It really inspired me to think about how I create experiences for our C-level audience,” she continued. “It’s developing a sense of engagement on a level so they’re going to be forever committed to this organization because of the way you made them feel.”