It's one of the great spectator events in all of sports. The NFL Draft.
For the fourth straight year, I'll be hosting a blowout bash for the event. Those that have attended these events in the past can attest, they are a helluva time with hundreds of Browns fans in attendance. New friendships are forged each year, and the beer always starts flowing early. The sweet sound of the collective ooh's, ahh's, moans, and groans after every selection or trade fills the room, if you can hear it over Mel Kiper piping through every inch of the bar at volume levels that are simply louder than they need to be. Enough talk about 40 times, bench press reps, and percieved upside by the armchair GM's in attendance to make the casual sports fan nautious. The geeks with their notebooks, checklists, and personal "big boards". And the building waves of excitement as each of the Browns first couple selections approaches.
And this year's party promises to be the best yet.
TheClevelandFan.com is teaming with Panini's Bar & Grille (the loacation downtown right by Jacobs Field and The Q on Huron) to throw the MOTHER of all draft parties on Saturday, April 28th. The doors will open at 9:00 AM. The draft starts at 12 noon, and the Browns have the third overall selection barring a trade up or down in the first round. Panini's has two gigantic plasma TV's, 16 flat screens, and the ESPN's coverage and analysis will be piping through every square inch of the joint. It will be impossible for you to not see a TV or hear the action, regardless of where you set your "war room" up that day.
We're working on a whole host of food and drink specials, prizes, giveaways, and promotions ... some of which are already known. And some of which details will still be coming on as we wind down the month remaining before Draft day.
Here's what we do know ...
Discounted food and beer all day. And again, the bar opens at 9 AM. $1.50 draft beer specials. Panini's has the below beers on draft, and a slew of bottled beers as well, in addition to a full bar and soft drinks:
Sam Adams White Ale
Sam Adams Cherry Wheat
We'll also be running food specials, including on the world famous Panini's overstuffed sandwiches pictured below.
Budweiser is already confirmed as one of the sponsors for the event. They'll be brining enough glassware (shot glasses, beer mugs, etc) for at least the first 200 people in attendance as giveaways. They're also going to supply us with all kinds of Cleveland Browns and Budweiser t-shirts, sweatshirts, and golf shirts to give away in addition to neons, mirrors, and other cool wall hanging type stuff. And they're bringing their promotional team to the event, which will include "The Bud Girls". This is just what we know for sure. I'll be meeting with the owner of Panini's (high school friend Dave Guentzler) and the Budweiser promotional team in a couple weeks to hammer out all the additional details.
The last two years, both FOX 8 and 19 Action News have come out and reported live from this party, and the wheels are in motion to make that happen again. And I'm also talking with several other potential co-sponsors to help add some additional promotions and prizes to the event. Panini's will also be promoting the party at their location for the next month. A month that features the women's Final Four, Cavaliers home games and the start of the playoffs, and 15 Indians home games. So clearly, we're expecting an excellent turnout.
Speaking of the Tribe, they play at home the night before the Draft, as they host the Orioles at 7:05 PM on Friday night April 27th. In addition to my entire team of writers being at the Draft Party, we're teeing off at 10:30 AM, getting dinner and beers, and then attending the Tribe game that night as a group. Making a little weekend out of it I guess you could say. My hotel room is already booked at the Mariott Residence Inn for Friday night.
Anyone that has any interest in joining the guys and I for a round of golf that Friday, maybe taking in the Tribe game that night ... I could think of a lot of worse ways to spend a weekend in late April.
We've got a thread on the party going in our Browns forum, so check back in there for any updates. In addition, I'm going to promote the party here on the front page at least once a week as more details on the event get finalized. And as always, feel free to click on the "Contact Swerb" link on the front page to get ahold of me with any questions.
Should be a great event. Look forward to seeing many of you there.