Combine staying in Indy for now; prime time in 2020

Field Level Media

May 22, 2019 at 10:33 pm.

The NFL Scouting Combine will remain in Indianapolis through at least 2021, while on-field workouts will be moved to the afternoon and prime time starting in 2020, the league announced Wednesday.

On top of a one-year extension through 2021, the agreement to hold the combine in Indianapolis includes a series of annual options in the future, with the league planning to evaluate the combine’s status in the city after 2021.

Starting next year, on-field drills and workouts — typically held during the morning and afternoon — will be bumped to the afternoon and prime time, with the goal of drawing more viewers.

“We are always looking at ways of bringing more football to a wider audience,” the league told NFL Network in a statement. “This will enable us to accomplish the goal of reaching more fans while still fully maintaining the football integrity of the event. We will adjust the schedule to ensure a positive experience for the players and clubs.”

The combine has been held in Indianapolis since 1987 as a centralized location for all teams to watch prospects and meet with them for interviews and medical testing, but there have been rumors and reports that the league is considering moving the event to a larger market. One possibility would be Los Angeles, where NFL Network will eventually have a large campus at the Los Angeles Rams’ new stadium and complex in Inglewood.

Many teams have pushed back against the idea of moving the combine, arguing in favor of the convenience of Indianapolis, where the events are centralized at the downtown convention center and Lucas Oil Stadium, with player physicals handled at nearby hospitals and everything running on a consistent schedule for years.

That schedule will change at least somewhat moving forward, with the workouts being pushed later, when players typically were meeting with teams in past years.

The NFL has shaken up the draft in recent years to garner more attention and viewers, splitting it into three days — with the first two in prime time — moving it around the country and featuring it in more places on television.