Spring is here, and that means it's time to enjoy all the sports action of the season. Cheer on your favorite Chicago sports team, or take part in the NFL Draft festivities taking over Chicago in 2015, which for the first time ever will include an interactive, outdoor fan celebration.
2015 NFL DRAFT & DRAFT TOWN FAN FESTIVAL
Returning to Chicago for the first time in over 50 years, the 2015 NFL Draft will be held April 30-May 2 at the historic Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University. The Draft will expand outside of the theater into adjacent Grant Park and Congress Plaza, making the 2015 NFL Draft accessible to all.
Now in its 80th year, the NFL Draft is known as a die-hard football fan event. This year's draft is the most fan-focused yet, with a festival that allows fans to be a part of the action. The best part? Admission to Draft Town is free, no tickets needed! Check out the full schedule at ChooseChicago.com/2015NFLDraft and for a chance to win seats to the Auditorium Theatre or Selection Square, visit nfl.com/DraftTown.
This year's top incoming prospects will be on-site in Chicago for Draft-related activities and, of course, hoping for Round 1 selection on April 30! During Round 2 on May 1, former NFL players will be on hand to announce later round selections.
Draft Town is accessible for all fans — with free tickets, representation from all 32 NFL teams, live music and entertainment, food and retail locations, autograph sessions with current and former players, and video screens to follow all the action. Grant Park's iconic Buckingham Fountain will be illuminated with the colors of the team that is on the clock during the first two nights of the draft. Bring the kids to this family friendly event, where they can take part in youth football activities and NFL Play 60 clinics.
Top 10 Must-See Attractions & Activities at Draft Town
- AFC & NFC Row: The 32 Team Houses are divided into AFC Row and NFC Row, and these fan caves are the place to gather for unique club content and food and drink concessions.
- Chi-Chefs Kitchen: This area will feature items from some of Chicago's best eateries for a special taste-of-the-town tailgate.
- Combine Corner: Here, fans can compare their stats to top prospects, as well as take the chance to test their speed by running alongside a 40-yard long LED screen featuring NFL stars running the 40-yard dash.
- Draft Tavern: This Draft-themed beer garden will feature a colossal tap, picnic area and bar-height tables where fans can congregate.
- Greetings from Draft Town: Fans can snap and share a commemorative photo with their favorite Draft-themed background.
- NFL PLAY 60 Field: Kids can take part in hour-long youth football clinics, while learning the importance of getting active and playing for 60 minutes every day.
- NFL PLAY 60 Zone: This interactive family-friendly area will include an obstacle course, mobile app gaming, green screen photo opportunity, player appearances and the famous NFL PLAY 60 Bus.
- Selection Square: Located across Michigan Avenue from the Auditorium Theatre, Selection Square will serve as the central operations of the Draft, featuring all 32 teams, where club representatives will submit their team's player selections.
- Super Bowl Museum (Pro Football Hall of Fame display area): Get an up-close look at historical Bears memorabilia, including the Vince Lombardi Trophy, Super Bowl rings and the AFC and NFC Conference Championship Trophies.
- Sweetness Simulator: Fans can hop into this wind tunnel skydive simulator to float in the air and soar over the action just like "Sweetness" himself — Chicago Bears Legend Walter Payton — did in so many NFL games. They even can strike a pose for a commemorative photo.
SPRING SPORTS PREVIEW
Budweiser Bleacher Fridays
Enjoy a classic Chicago experience and cheer on the Chicago Cubs in historic Wrigley Field. The Cubs are preparing for an exciting season of baseball starting Opening Night, April 5. Each year, millions of people visit this beloved ballpark to enjoy America's pastime and share Wrigley Field's traditions. Check out the schedule to see when the Cubs are in town and buy tickets at chicagocubs.com.
New for 2015, "Weekends Start Here" as the Cubs and Budweiser team up to present a new summer series on select Fridays. Get the full schedule of pre- or post-game entertainment, exclusive giveaway items, and special food and drinks online at Budweiser Bleacher Fridays
. Headlining the schedule is a concert with Fitz & The Tantrums on July 10, and other highlights include a Beach Bash (May 29) and Country Day (June 12).
Upcoming Wrigley Field Improvements
The long-awaited restoration and expansion of the ballpark, now known as The 1060 Project, is designed to ensure the viability of Wrigley Field for future generations, while preserving the beauty, charm and historic features fans have come to know and love. Details and photos are at wrigleyfield.com, which lays out the enhancements and additions to be made over the next few years to the 100-year-old ballpark:
- Budweiser Bleachers expansion includes new seating, terraces and concessions (complete in 2015!)
- Additional concessions and a larger variety of healthy choices
- Suite Level expansion and improvements
- New video boards and outfield signage
- More fan areas in center field and adjacent to left field grandstand
- New Club Level and Lounge underneath the press box
- More restrooms (meaning less time in line)
- Ricketts family's neighborhood development plan that includes an open-air plaza outside the ballpark
- New building for Cubs offices, conference meeting space and retail shops
Chicago White Sox
After a busy offseason, White Sox fans are buzzing with excitement, as the team welcomed Zach Duke, Adam LaRoche, Melky Cabrera, David Robertson, Jeff Samardzija and Dan Jennings to the roster. Join the excitement with fellow fans at U.S. Cellular Field for the White Sox home opener April 10. Get your tickets at chicagowhitesox.com, where you can view the full schedule and learn more about upcoming White Sox special events.
This family friendly experience features ticket prices as low as $5 (upper level) to $15 (lower level) and parking for only $10 on 12 Sunday home games. Kids also can take part in plenty of kid-focused activities, such as running the bases after the games.
Free T-Shirt Mondays
Paul Konerko Retirement
Love free swag? Be one of the first 10,000 fans at the regular season Monday home games to receive a special T-shirt for free.
On May 23, the White Sox will honor longtime slugger Paul Konerko with a ceremony to retire his No. 14 jersey number. The first 20,000 fans through the U.S. Cellular Field turnstiles will receive a replica of the Konerko statue, which currently resides on the left-center field concourse.
10th Anniversary World Series
To commemorate the 10th Anniversary of the White Sox World Series win in 2005, a number of special promotions will take place all season long:
- July 4: First 20,000 fans get a Bobby Jenks Bobblehead
- July 17: Special fireworks show
- July 18: First 20,000 adults get a replica 2005 World Series Championship ring
- July 19: First 10,000 fans get a 2005 World Series Commemorative tailgate flag
- August 1: First 20,000 fans get a Scott Podsednik Bobblehead
- August 29: First 20,000 fans get a Jermaine Dye Bobblehead
Since the Major Soccer League team's explosive 1998 inaugural season, which ended with a league championship MLS Cup and a U.S. Open Cup, the Chicago Fire has continued to burn with intensity, winning three more U.S. Open Cups. Root for them at Toyota Park in nearby Bridgeview during their season from March to October. For tickets and schedule, head to chicago-fire.com.
Pub to Pitch Shuttle
Wish you could avoid the hassle of driving? Try the Pub to Pitch shuttle for your next Chicago Fire match. Enjoy a pint with fellow fans at favorite Fire bars like The Globe, and hop on the round-trip shuttle, which stops outside a number of additional Chicago pubs before heading to the stadium. Return trips head back 20 minutes after the final whistle. Learn more about the Pub to Pitch shuttle.