The next time you read about the NFL’s “ratings problem,” remember this: TV executives, whose jobs revolve around how many viewers they can reach, are still falling over themselves to televise the NFL.
Need proof? More outlets will broadcast the NFL draft than you can even imagine. In announcing its draft coverage on Wednesday, the NFL said these outlets will be broadcasting the first round: NFL Network, Fox, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN Deportes; in addition to NFL, FOX Sports and ESPN digital properties. Hopefully that’s enough for you.
The Fox network is a new entry, putting the draft on a traditional broadcast network in prime time. Fox will broadcast the first round on April 26, then the second and third rounds on April 27. If that’s not enough, the fourth through seventh rounds will be on ABC on April 28. It’s the first time the entire draft will be on traditional broadcast networks. That’s all in addition to the ESPN and NFL Network coverage.
That’s right, as players you probably have never heard of are being selected from the fourth through seventh rounds on the third day of the draft, it will be on three different networks. The draft will be held at AT&T Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys, just another sign that the draft is becoming as big as the games themselves.
And if all that is not enough, ESPN’s “College GameDay” will have a two-hour pregame show before the first round outside of AT&T Stadium as “part of ESPN’s unprecedented 26 consecutive hours of NFL Draft coverage leading into Round 1,” the NFL said. Mercy. “College GameDay” will have a one-hour pregame show before the second day of the draft too, in case you needed more coverage.
One legitimate criticism of the NFL is over-saturation, and they’re not doing themselves any favor in that regard with this draft plan. But since NFL draft ratings last year blew away ratings for NBA playoff games in the same time slots, it’s obvious many people can’t get enough of the draft. And this year’s draft is going to be a fun one, with four quarterbacks near the top of the draft, a great running back prospect in Saquon Barkley and 2016 Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson as a polarizing prospect.
When it all goes down, you won’t have any problem at all finding coverage of it.
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