CLEVELAND (WJW) — For football fans hoping to attend the NFL Draft in Cleveland, a seat near the draft stage is by invitation only.
A group of fans learned on Saturday that they had been selected and can attend one night at the Draft, which begins on April 29 and runs through May 1.
Each winner of the lottery will be allowed to bring three guests, provided they too have been vaccinated.
One of the winners, Tom Selders, told Fox 8, “I didn’t really expect that I would get a response and yesterday I got a response and it was very exciting, I felt like Charlie from ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ winning a golden ticket.”
For Selders, the ticket to the draft is a reward for being a lifelong fan and a season ticket holder since 1999.
“To me, it’s like a historical experience for me. I mean, it’s something being a fan my entire life, having an opportunity to attend something like this in the NFL is great. I love the NFL,” he said.
Patrick Zimmerman is another longtime fan, who learned on Saturday that he can attend the second night of the draft.
“Looking forward to just kind of a sense of normalcy by attending the draft, you know. I’m excited that Cleveland gets to host such a big event, so just going up to the old port lot and experiencing the draft, it’ll be — I think it’ll be a great time,” Zimmerman said.
For Zimmerman, the ticket to the draft is a bonus for hanging onto legacy season tickets that his father had owned for decades. The tickets were turned over to Patrick ten years ago.
“I called him yesterday to see if he wanted to go first before I invited any of my friends. He’s getting older so he didn’t really want to go, but he was excited that I had an opportunity to go,” said Zimmerman.
The Browns backers who won the draft ticket lottery are looking forward to watching the moves of their favorite team on draft night, as the Browns try and improve on a roster that made the playoffs for the first time since 2002.
“It’ll be interesting to see what direction they move. I have a lot of trust in Andrew Berry and Coach Stefanski and the new front office, so I’m just excited to see what direction they move,” said Zimmerman.
“I expect them to go for the best player available. I mean they’ve saturated the lineup now and the personnel so that they can take the best player available. It’s rare that we can say that here in Cleveland,” said Selders. “Just looking forward to the whole event.”