Preparing for the NFL Draft

April 28, 2021

From a major political convention to the MLB’s All-Star Game, Cleveland has seen its share of event success stories in recent years. And from April 29 to May 1, the city can shine again when the 86th annual NFL Draft is held across iconic downtown Cleveland locations, including FirstEnergy Stadium, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and the Great Lakes Science Center.

Although The Illuminating Company (CEI) does not service the locations where the actual draft will take place, it powers many downtown Cleveland restaurants and hotels that will be hosting official events during the week.

When events like the NFL Draft occur without a hitch, most people don’t notice or even consider the preparations that went into ensuring a smooth outcome. However, the work to make sure it happens without incident began last year, and our utilities play a big role in that effort.

“The NFL isn’t the only organization touting their stars this week,” said CEI Regional President Mark Jones. “Our crews are the best in the utility industry, and they’ve spent countless hours performing enhanced inspections and maintenance on our equipment to help ensure Cleveland shines as brightly as possible during the draft.”

Over the past year, CEI crews have inspected underground vaults and assessed equipment to help ensure the power continues to flow safely and reliably during one of professional football’s most televised events.

Overhead and underground inspections were done in tourist areas across the city, including Tremont and Ohio City, to assure system reliability wherever the crowds are likely to go.

Additionally, plans were made to beef up crew staffing levels to ensure the local grid remains secure and reliable through the event.

Beyond the operational preparation, the NFL Draft coming to Cleveland has put the community in a unique position to help further advance important conversations and awareness about diversity, equality and inclusion, as well as social justice.

That’s why the FirstEnergy Foundation is co-sponsoring the Cleveland Power of Sport Summit – a free, public event that will be held in person at Progressive Field and online in conjunction with the NFL Draft to celebrate diversity, equity and inclusion in sports.

“The FirstEnergy Foundation focuses contributions in areas that drive meaningful change in the communities we serve,” said Lorna Wisham, vice president, Corporate Affairs & Community Involvement. “The Cleveland Power of Sport Summit reflects FirstEnergy’s core values of diversity and inclusion, social responsibility and teamwork, and we’re honored to co-sponsor this free event for the Cleveland community.”

The Summit will feature local and national organizations addressing topics related to adaptive sports, gender equity, LGBTQIA+ athletes, mental health and racial equality. For more information about this event, or to register, please visit

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