NFL draft a super event

HOW ABOUT THIS? The Eagles have a home event scheduled this weekend and you can't find a single ticket on the secondary market . . . yet. "The first year we did it, we had scalpers outside the gate, and I'm sure we'll have some outside the gates this year," an Eagles spokesman related this week about tomorrow's fifth annual draft party at the Linc.

Scalping free tickets? What does that say about the strength of the NFL and the Eagles brand when a draft in the middle of the

offseason nearly matches

the Super Bowl's hype. Every team's draft-day plan now

includes some sort of fan-friendly gathering. The Eagles make available 5,000 free tickets; those recently were scarfed up in an hour. The 4 1/2-hour party in the SCA Club will start at 2:30, ideally catering to fans who can't get tickets during the season.

The size and scope of the parties vary in other cities, although all include alumni and current players mingling and signing autographs. A sampling:

Kansas City: $14 in advance, $18 at the door; done at the practice facility.

Tampa Bay: free; held in stadium club section.

Pittsburgh: $10 for adults, $5 for kids 12 and

under; held at stadium, where fans even are

allowed to take the field and kick field goals.

Indianapolis: free; held at a local restaurant.

Green Bay: $25; held in the stadium atrium.

Dallas: free; it takes place at the Arlington

(Texas) Convention Center; among the perks, fans will be taken to the new stadium for a site visit.

In Philly, fans will meet the 2008 cheerleaders and get a tour of the stadium, including the locker room. As for squeezing in more than they do now, don't expect it. "It's really a capacity question," the Eagles spokesman said. "If you could guarantee me 72 and sunny, we could do a lot more with the outdoor space in the stadium. But we've had years where it's been 40 and rainy. Weather permitting, we'll [put the draft shows] on the big boards. A lot go out into seating bowl and actually watch the draft from there." *

- Paul Vigna

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