If the NFL Draft is similar to an offseason Super Bowl, the Houston Texans certainly know how to throw a party.
Last year without a first or second-round draft selection, Texans fans still showed up in record numbers to watch and celebrate the 2018 NFL Draft. The Texans moved the party from Thursday to Friday so that fans could gather to watch their first selection, safety Justin Reid with the 68th overall pick. Fans erupted in cheers and high fives as if he were a first-round selection, long before anyone knew he would add three interceptions or a 101-yard touchdown to his rookie highlight reel.
Creating memorable fan experiences for a passionate fan base has always been a priority for the Texans, according to President Jamey Rootes.
"When we started the Houston Texans, part of the focus was a team that's built for the fans," Rootes said. "Anytime we can get together to celebrate with them the great game of football, we want to take advantage of that. We've always had a history of innovation and that was one of the innovations early on in the development of the franchise, to make a big celebration during the draft."
On Thursday, April 25, NRG Stadium will open its gates to another sold-out crowd where fans can follow coverage of the 2019 NFL Draft on HD televisions throughout the 100 level concourse and watch Texans Radio coverage with live analysis from Marc Vandermeer, John Harris and guests. Texans players will be available for pictures, Texans ambassadors will be signing autographs and the 2019 Houston Texans Cheerleader Squad will make its first team appearance.
With the 2019 NFL Draft being aired on five different networks over the three-day event, fans can certainly watch Thursday's first-round selections from the comfort of their living room. However, many head over to NRG Stadium to share the experience with other fans.
And the Houston Texans wouldn't have it any other way.
"The draft is a huge phenomenon, a great opportunity during the offseason for us to celebrate the game and our staff really looks forward to it," Rootes said. "We miss our fans. We don't have those interaction opportunities every Sunday to feel their energy and we kind of feed off of that. The Draft Party is that time during the offseason in a big way. We have a chance to reconnect with them and they reconnect with each other and get re-associated with the passion they have for the team and the game."
The Houston Texans Draft Party has certainly evolved over the years from a small gathering of fans at the Pennzoil Tower in 2000 to an NRG Stadium mini-Gameday experience today, complete with interactive games and a TORO's Kids Club Zone. Every year, the Texans try to improve the Draft Party experience – a free event - for their fans and each year the high-demand tickets are sold out.
"It's another level to create an interactive experience that is a celebration of the Texans and the game of football so I do think that makes our experience unique," Rootes said. "We try to bring the energy, passion, rituals, pageantry of Gameday alive during the offseason during the Draft Party."
Houston Texans fans are invited to come out to the 2019 Houston Texans Draft Party presented by Miller Lite on Thursday, April 25 at NRG Stadium. The Draft Party will begin at 6 p.m. CT. General public tickets will be available at Ticketmaster.com while they last. Due to the limited amount of tickets, fans will be allotted up to four free tickets. Parking for the Draft Party is also free and will be located in the Blue Lot on the south end of NRG Stadium.
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