Follow our live coverage of the 2023 NFL Draft.
The NFL has been broadcasting drafts since 1980. Soon after, professional sports leagues realized they could sell the rights to select shows to content-hungry upstart cable networks. In the four decades since, football’s rookie roll call has far outstripped other sports, and the NFL Draft is as popular as the Grammy headliners and bigger than HBO’s “Succession.”
For three days, the sport, built on violent clashes, presents the equivalent of a football festival trading poignant stories and innocent fun. In last year’s draft, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell (himself a burly former player) greeted newly-selected 6-foot-3 linebacker Devin Lloyd and offered him the customary handshake and hug. to the shock of Lloyd leaned over and snatched His new boss lifted off the ground in such a fluid motion that Goodell simply pushed his leg back and burst into laughter.
Lloyd’s mother, Lonita Johnson, then said she told him to do it on a whim.
Moments like this can’t begin to justify why the NFL Draft, which starts Thursday in Kansas City, Missouri, draws more than 11 million viewers each year to air on four networks. Even at its worst, the draft is a hit.
In 2021, when Goodell announced his pick from the Cleveland stage, the cameras switched to the first pick. A player, Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence, was watching from home, much like the rest of America. More television viewers turned up to witness the format than saw “Nomadland” win Best Picture at the Academy Awards that year.
How did pro forma sports programming come to have such cultural appeal? Part of the answer lies in football’s dominance on our television screens. 22 NFL games ranked in top 25 Primetime telecasts in 2022 will make sports the most trusted destination for viewing anything the network can cook.
Football viewership is a key driver of revenue, and the league’s flair for spectacle is turning America’s most popular sport into its most profitable. NFL Says He Signed Media Deal Worth Over $100 Billion In 2021 And Has Been Signing Since $2 billion deal with YouTube for the right to stream Sunday’s game. Amazon paid $1 billion to stream the game Thursday, and this year the NFL Add games to play on Black Friday For prime shoppers of tech giants. He will also air 75 hours of draft coverage on the league-owned NFL Network and stream more footage on NFL+, the NFL App, NFL.com and NFL Channel.
“There’s no other NFL,” said Jim Minnich, senior vice president of revenue and revenue management at Disney Advertising. Minnich, who runs a group that sells ad inventory for the broadcast of his three-day event on ESPN and ABC, said the more than 35-hour show sold out this year, bringing Disney his $16 million. Expected. “This time of year is tumultuous and the NFL just gets through it.”
As proof, Minnich provided statistics. He was 41% more likely to search for draft advertisers online than the average primetime broadcast. He attributed this to storytelling. The NFL has him scheduled picks every 15 minutes, and to fill the time between them, the network airs short biographies of the just-selected player. In doing so, viewers are taken on a short emotional journey that leads to a satisfying ending (those burly men in NFL caps tearing their mothers and fathers apart and embracing them).
An ESPN spokesperson said the network plans to create a highlight package of 600 players and zoom in on 50 live shots of prospects while they wait for their names to be called. That’s after he spent three months of sports media, bar stool and message board pundits predicting which teams would want which players.
Much like awards ceremonies and beauty pageants, the NFL Draft is a blast when the cameras catch a contestant of that name. isn’t it called. When Aaron Rodgers lost his first pick to the San Francisco 49ers (the team he rooted for as a kid) in 2005, the Green Bay Packers made him his 24th pick. He tormented his four hours in front of television cameras until he won.
“The Lord has taught me a lot about humility and patience, and today he threw both of them in my face,” said Rogers, then 21. Now 39. , the NFL’s most valuable player four times, was recently traded to the Jets.
“I’m ashamed,” he said. told ESPN after a long draft night. “The whole world is watching, cell phones are ringing every two minutes and I hope that’s the team’s call. It’s hard to laugh when you know you’re
The writhing of a stranded player can give the build-up a tangible focus while invisible coaches and clipboard holders determine their future. We will pay the airfare and hotel costs of the athletes for the sake of the event, but not for the performance.
In some cases, agents advise players not to show up so as not to suffer the humiliation of awkwardly waiting at the TV. Only 17 of his 259 players to be drafted were scheduled to attend the event and sit in the closed dressing room/fishbowl. Attendees attend for much the same reason college seniors sit down to give commencement speeches.
Alabama quarterback Bryce Young is expected to be the number one pick in this year’s draft. he said he expected A “surreal” night.
“You will be able to walk that stage and hear your name called and experience it with your family. It’s a huge blessing for me, a moment to cherish and appreciate,” he said Told.
A large audience at a moment like this is also the first big opportunity for a player to showcase his personality for mass consumption.
GQ’s Senior Style Writer Cam Wolf said:
According to Wolfe, the turning point came in 2016 when running back Ezekiel Elliott liked to wear cropped tees while prepping for a college game at Ohio State. . It was abbreviated as Midriff. Elliott’s abs quickly became an internet wallpaper.
Viewers “look at it for the clothes, not for style inspiration,” Wolff said, noting that GQ has stepped up its NFL Draft red carpet coverage since then. “They want to be part of the discourse, and costumes are a very easy way to do that.
It’s nothing like the X and O conversations that disrupt NFL game days, where the same athletes wear uniforms and try to stand out with big catches and flammable tackles. The NFL currently sees him play four out of seven days a week for his six months of the season, but that has been extended for another week in 2021.
And if there are no games to play, the NFL will find other ways to expand, much like the Marvel franchise and known universe.
Ken Bellson contributed to the report.