SBD/May 13, 2014/Media

NFL Media's Rolapp Heaps Praise On Use Of Twitter For Highlights In Draft

Rolapp said TV is still the best way for the NFL to distribute games
NFL Media COO Brian Rolapp appeared on CNBC's "Squawk Box" yesterday and discussed whether the Draft will change sites. He said, "We’ve heard from a lot of different places where they realize that this event not only puts a city on television, but it is a way for fans to come out and do things in the offseason." He also said the use of Twitter to show Draft highlights "has worked great." Rolapp: "We tweeted every podium pick where (NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell) is hugging the guy, which people love. … We probably had about 10 million (re)tweets." Rolapp said of TV as an NFL platform in general, "When it comes to live games, we still think television is the best way to distribute those. We have made our television deals through '21-22. We have made our bed, but that is not the sole consumption of our sport. Most of our consumption or a lot of it is with highlights outside the game" (“Squawk Box,” CNBC, 5/12). Meanwhile, the NFL's digital media platforms -- including NFL.com and NFL Mobile -- set a number of records during the Draft, including 44 million visits, a 41% increase over '13. Visits to NFL.com nearly doubled and NFL Mobile usage increased by 133% over last year. NFL digital media properties over the course of the Draft had 19 million visitors, a 25% bump from '13. The 23 million video views represented an 86% increase from '13 and a 102% bump from '12 (NFL). The Draft also ranked highly in Nielsen's Twitter TV ratings top 10, with NFL Network's Thursday coverage ranking at the top of the "series and specials" category with 11.6 million unique viewers and 7.0 million tweets. ESPN2's Friday coverage of the Draft ranked second with 8.3 million viewers and 1.1 million tweets (THE DAILY).

HERE TO STAY: ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert wrote record-setting Draft TV ratings "might justify not only a permanent May date but also a rumored expansion into a traveling four-day event as part of a larger offseason reorganization." Seifert: "I’m not sure how else to interpret the significance of the most-watched NFL draft in history, one whose popularity rose measurably even when compared to its most recent incarnations. ... If you're hoping for a return to an April draft, my guess is you'll be disappointed. Realistically, the 2014 draft needed to be a disaster for the NFL to reverse course. Far from it" (ESPN.com, 5/12). In Philadelphia, Mike Sielski writes, "The NFL Draft isn't just big anymore. It's Godzilla." It "levels everything in its path." More people on Thursday "watched the Draft on ESPN and the NFL Network than watched two NBA playoff games and two NHL playoff games combined." Wells Fargo Center in June will host the NHL Draft, which, compared to the NFL Draft, "might as well be an artisanal craft show in Lititz" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 5/13).
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