There may or may not be a full-fledged NFL season this year, but there will at the very least be an NFL Draft.
Disney will for a second year televise the annual event across ESPN and ABC, which organizers hope will prove an attractive draw to sports fans who have few new games to watch due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“We recognize the challenging times we are living in, but we are looking forward to presenting the 2020 NFL Draft and providing some hope for football fans everywhere,” said Seth Markman, vice president of production for ESPN, in a statement. “For the past couple of years, ESPN’s NFL and college teams have worked together on our draft coverage, and it has been a win for our viewers. This year, we are further excited to collaborate with the NFL Network creating an All Star broadcast. We are also committed to producing the ESPN/NFL Network and ABC shows in the safest possible environment for our announcers and production teams.”
The draft events had originally been slated to originate from Las Vegas, but will now take place at ESPN’s headquarters in Bristol, Conn. The organizers said a limited number of commentators will be in-studio while a majority of the analysts, reporters and other experts will contribute remotely from home studios. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell will introduce the picks from his home.
As was the case in 2019, ESPN will feature a broadcast aimed at sports aficionados, which will air April 23 through April 25. ABC will offer a separate broadcast of rounds one through three in primetime. In 2019, the ABC broadcasts aimed for a wider crowd, and featured musical guest as well as “Good Morning America” co-anchor Robin Roberts. ABC will also simulcast the broadcast of rounds four through seven featured on ESPN and the NFL Network.
The telecast plans suggest the NFL liked Disney’s 2019 efforts, which came about as the company made new efforts to court the league after the relationship had begun to fray.
More than 47.5 million TV viewers tuned in to some part of various 2019 broadcasts of the Draft, which was televised across ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN Deportes, ABC and the NFL Network, as well as social and digital outlets controlled by ESPN or the league. according to Nielsen. The figures represent a 5% jump from 2017’s broadcasts across ESPN, Fox and the NFL Network. This marked the second consecutive year all seven rounds of the three-day event were aired on a broadcast-TV outlet. ESPN, Disney’s sports-cable outlet, has televised the event for decades.