The Roundabout: Digesting the NFL Draft with the CEO of Visit Detroit

Claude Molinari can finally take a breath. 

Now more than a month after the NFL Draft, he's still digesting the time he and other Detroit leaders sunk into putting on such an event - and the waves that will ripple from beyond the Motor City as the impact grows.

"When your dreams are exceeded by your reality, you have to be very thankful and we were hoping that we could get close to Nashville’s record," said Molinari, who is president and CEO of Visit Detroit.

It became obvious in the early hours on Day One that Detroit was bringing a different energy to this year's draft. Instead of closing in on the record, the city smashed the former attendance standard when 775,000 total people showed up.

Molinari heaped praise onto Mayor Mike Duggan for being a "champion" throughout the entire planning process - and even thanked him for not bringing up the momentary crisis the city almost had when the police department lost visual on the NFL Draft footprint.

"I found out that after the fact. I’m glad I didn’t know in real time because that would have stressed me out a little bit. There's a lot of contingencies in place and again the chief had a lot of contingencies in place. I can’t stress enough how amazing Mayor Duggan was in this entire process," said Molinari.

And with a new standard set for citywide events, he's got his eyes set on other major events - from college football conference championships to all-star basketball games. 

"Our goal has always been to use this draft, this event, and the worldwide audience of over 50 million to as a platform showcase Detroit as a destination," he said. "I think the success of this trip validates Detroit as a true tourist destination."