With added analysts and networks, The NFL Draft will garner more TV coverage than ever before.
From 1980 until 2006, ESPN was the only network covering the NFL draft; they built and popularized it, turning the draft into an event for fans. In 2006, NFL Network joined ESPN in offering a draft broadcast.
Earlier this year, it was announced Fox would simulcast NFL Network’s draft feed for the first three rounds on Thursday, April 26 and Friday, April 27, during prime-time. As reported by the Sports Business Journal, ABC will simulcast ESPN’s draft broadcast of rounds 4-7 on Saturday April 28th, meaning the entire NFL draft will be available on network television.
In an attempt to attract viewers, NFL Network will use both the lead NFL and lead college analyst from Fox during their draft presentation, according to Andrew Marchand of The New York Post. Troy Aikman will participate during the draft’s first round on NFL Network which will be simulcast on Fox, and Joel Klatt will join their pre-draft coverage.
Providing a unique alternative for the first round, ESPN2 will offer the College Gameday crew reacting to and analyzing draft selections.
“The draft is the perfect intersection of college football and the NFL, so giving fans the opportunity to experience Round 1 through the lens of College GameDay makes perfect sense,” said Burke Magnus, ESPN executive vice president, programming and scheduling.
In total, six channels will broadcast the 2018 NFL draft from Dallas, TX. Two broadcast networks (Fox and ABC) and four cable channels, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN Deportes and NFL Network.