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October 9, 2015

The NFL draft expands into primetime

by Allison Waldman, posted Jul 24th 2009 6:00PM
NFL_draft_shieldUnless you're a National Football League fan like me, the idea of watching hours and hours of college players being selected one by one to potentially play for a team, is as boring as watching someone in fishing for bass. Well, it turns out there's an audience for both! No seriously, when ESPN began covering the NFL Draft in 1980, the network could have never anticipated that it would grow into a ratings draw.

Now, the draft has been supersized. In 2010, the NFL Draft will be three days long and in mostly in primetime. The 75th annual National Football League Draft will commence on Thursday, April 22 at 7:30 - 11 p.m.. That'll just cover round one. Rounds two and three continue on Friday, April 23 at 6:30 - 11 p.m., with the final four rounds dominating daytime on Saturday, April 24, from 9 a.m. to whenever it's over.

Why the change? Simple. Advertising revenue. The draft draws millions of viewers. In 2009, 39 million viewers tuned in to the NFL Network, ESPN and ESPN2 to watch who gets picked where. That's an increase of 66 percent from 2001 to 2009.

Like all TV fare, the NFL Draft is successful because football fans get caught up in the excitement of the what if. What if this pick turns out to be the next great player for my team? The expectations make for drama and that's good TV, even if the non-fans can't figure out why anyone would want to watch the Baltimore Ravens on the clock for the 187 pick or the sweat on Brady Quinn's face as he dropped and dropped in the first round when the Miami Dolphins didn't pick him in the top ten a couple of years ago.

Still, don't tell that to the hundreds of football crazed fans that fill Radio City Music Hall in New York City, or the millions more -- me included -- watching on TV.

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Frankly, this sucks balls for the west coast and is just one more example of the NFL having blatant disregard for west coasters trying to follow their league (like TEN AM east coast start times!). I'll be watching anyway, but I'm a college student. For guys with jobs, how lame is it that it starts at 4:30???!!

July 27 2009 at 12:06 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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