If anyone has questioned the popularity of the NFL, then that was put to rest with the 2024 NFL Draft attendance. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced on Thursday night (April 25) during the draft in Detroit that the Motor City set the all-time attendance record for the first day of the draft. Anyone watching the event from home could tell the streets of Detroit were absolutely packed, so it shouldn’t be surprising that the event set an attendance record.

2024 NFL Draft Attendance

More than 275,000 people attended day one of the 2024 NFL Draft. Officials anticipated 300,000 to 400,000 attendees throughout the full weekend, but having more than 275,000 on the first day alone was a bit of a shock. So, the 2024 NFL Draft attendance was easily a record. So many attendees poured into the Motor City on Thursday that officials had to shut down the entrances for the evening. Around 6:30 p.m., according to NFL Draft officials, they had to end general admission entry because of capacity limits.

At first, officials just paused general admission entry when the numbers got out of control. But, just a few minutes later, they sent an update via the NFL OnePass app stating the gates were closed and wouldn’t reopen until 12 p.m. Friday for rounds two and three of the event.

The OnePass app had an alert that read, “GENERAL ADMISSION ENTRY HAS BEEN PAUSED AT THIS TIME,” and told people to visit other viewing parties in downtown Detroit. Even outside the draft area, plenty of activities were set up for visitors to enjoy. But, some of the fans were understandably upset, because they wanted to be with in the main draft area.

“I drove in from Kansas City for this and now won’t be able to be part of the first night,” said Jess Harper of Kansas City, Missouri, adding that she wasn’t surprised to see the 2024 NFL Draft attendance so high. “But everything has been great up until now and Detroit is a really cool city. I never would have come here if it weren’t for the draft, and I’m glad I did.”

Even in the early afternoon, the NFL reported that entry to the event was “exceptionally congested.” That made attendees rush to get their spot, and then, the gates closed around 5:30 p.m. because of the overwhelming crowd capacity. So, yes, 2024 NFL Draft attendance was off the charts.

Aside from the 2024 NFL Draft attendance setting a record, the event was certainly all about Detroit. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell opened the event with Detroit native Eminem. The program started on ESPN with jokes about Slim Shady songs and a bunch of Detroit regulars, including Calvin Johnson, Barry Sanders and Aiden Hutchinson, in addition to Eminem.

Goodell also walked out to lots of boos, which happens every year at the draft. He probably doesn’t take it to hear too much, since it’s been a tradition of sorts for the NFL commissioner to get booed. After he came on stage, Eminem followed. Then, fans saw Jared Goff, Amon-Ra St. Brown, Aiden Hutchinson, Calvin Johnson and Barry Sanders all strut on the stage. It was a true Detroit Lions moment.

Also at the beginning of the program, St. Brown led the crowd in the famed “Jared Goff” chant. He’s truly loved in Detroit. Hopefully the Lions can work out his contract sometime soon.