Ever wonder what it’s like to attend an NFL draft party, complete with NFL players, agents, and staff? Look no further, as I’m going to take you through my experience this past Thursday, when the NFL kicked off the 2018 season with the annual NFL Draft. This event was graciously hosted by Stellato Sports and its founder and NFL agent, Sean Stellato.
I arrived in Middleton, MA around 5 PM on Thursday, April 26th, at this gorgeous country club where you could see employees and vendors setting up and getting ready for the arriving guests as you pulled up. Being early, I decided to poke around and get a feel of the place and a realistic perspective of how poor I really am. This place was nice. The lot was flooded with BMWs, Porches, and I even spotted a midnight black Lambo that would stop any car enthusiast in their tracks. Making my way into the clubhouse, I ran into to some folks discussing table placement, buffet arrangements, and where to put bags and coats. Being unfamiliar, I asked this kind gentleman in a suit where I might be able to check in at the media desk for entry. He let me know I was early, but didn’t mind if I wondered the grounds so long as I was back for check-in. No problem. I headed up to the rooftop deck where they were also setting up for the event, but I decided to take in the scenery and snap some beautiful pictures of the course from above. The smell of grass and the sounds of golf balls getting hammered down the green was in a way soothing, and with the sky a pretty blue, it created the perfect backdrop for the party. As time ticked away, and check-in being 6 PM, I went back down stairs to get ready for entry.
Let’s Get This Party Started
As I stood in line to get my wristband, in plain sight and about 50-ft away, was New England Patriots LB Marquis Flowers checking his phone and chatting up a group of kids and fans who were excited to see him. All smiles, Marquis was kind throughout and never wavered when approached. Then, out of the corner of my eye, I spot the whitest Benz I think I’ve ever seen pulling up to a parking spot. I mean whiter than white out. Out comes Sean Stellato, NFL agent, party host, and author. When I say this dude was stylin’, he would have given Michael Jackson a run for his money. Also, Sean if you’re reading this, nice shoes that day (picture below). After the “Hello”s and “See you all inside”s, we got our bands, goody bag with gifts (gift cards to eateries, party favors, etc), and headed to our designated areas. I was upstairs on the VIP/Media deck.
After getting upstairs, the rooftop filled quickly. CEOs, Founders, and Owners of things were mostly in attendance, but you had your fair share of the everyday fan. You could hear conversations ranging from “This is nice, good weather”, to “Let me tell you about this new high-tech water my company makes.” There was no short in levels of interaction. Chatting it up with a few big-wigs and becoming friends on LinkedIn, I grabbed a drink from the bar and mosied my way to the number of buffets that were provided. Sushi, cheese and crackers, wine, and a dinner buffet that featured classic Italian cuisine. Meanwhile, event employees were setting up a display for a photo-op with New England Patriot players who were slated to be there, while they also placed the five shining Vince Lombardi trophies from each of New England’s Super Bowl victories on a stand for viewing and pictures.
Once most had a bit to eat and drink, Sean made the announcement that Patriots players Marquis Flowers, Brandon King, and Rob Ninkovich would be attending. He also noted that Tony DeMarco, aka “The Boston Bomber” (58-12 pro record), would be there. Not many people got excited, but I did as this dude is a stone-cold legend around Boston. He even has his own statue! Even so, the crowd started to hover around the display hoping to get their chance to meet and greet with the players, phone in hand already on camera mode.
Then comes out the players and the crowd gets chatty. Some fight to get up close, some yelling from the back, but it was all in good spirit. I happened to be lucky enough to get a “front row seat”, but admittedly found it difficult to have a lengthy conversation with the stars of the show due to them being pulled in all directions. I did manage to get a few pictures and chat it up with both Tony and Sean, who were equally as pleasant and accommodating. My time with Tony lasted longer, which was pretty cool to hear a few of his “war stories” from the ring. Overall, it was neat to shake hands and talk with polarizing figures. With the actual draft beginning at 8 PM, I made my way downstairs ready for the draft to begin.
Once the draft started and all were full and happy, the networking and conversation seemed to remain steady. There were a few still sticking to their marketing pitch and investment strategies, but most wanted to have a good time at that point. Flowers, Jones, and Ninkovich were saying hello and making conversation while ESPN was on the projector screen for viewing at the head of the room. There was a nice speech thanking all of us for coming and enjoying ourselves, which was nice. Pick after pick people chatted and enjoyed themselves and the wonderful reception that followed the pre-party. As the draft grew later in the night, a good portion of folks started to head home for the evening, myself included, as an hour and 40 minute drive was staring me in the face. Leaving shortly after, I relived the events of the evening and how cool of an experience it was.
This was such a unique experience, and shout out to Boston Sports Extra and Sean Stellato for allowing me to attend. Not only was I able to meet some pretty cool and smart business executives, I was surrounded by the energy and prestige of upper level executives and NFL caliber talent, as well as positive spirits. I met a boxing legend in Tony Demarco, shook hands with NFL players, and took a picture and chatted with a real, big-time NFL agent. I ate 5-star food and got free stuff, not a bad deal. Overall, it was the perfect event to network, grab some free stuff, and just have a low-key good time especially as a football fan. If I were you, I would absolutely recommend to one day attend a draft party if you’re able. Aside from a good time, you never know who you might meet.
Don’t worry, that’s water 😉
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