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Volume 25 No. 196
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ABC Set To Air All Three Days Of '19 NFL Draft In Nashville

The Draft saw its best TV audience on record this year, as the three-day event averaged 5.5 million viewers
Photo: GETTY IMAGES

ABC will broadcast all three days of the NFL Draft next April, including two primetime shows on Day 1 and Day 2. Fox, which covered the Draft's first two days earlier this year, will not cover it live in '19. ESPN and NFL Network also will cover all rounds of the Draft, which will be held in Nashville April 25-27. ABC's coverage will not be a simulcast of what is on ESPN, at least not on the Draft's first two days. ABC's coverage will be tailored for the more casual fan, anchored by the "College GameDay" crew of Rece Davis, Lee Corso, Kirk Herbstreit and Desmond Howard. Davis, Corso and Howard were on ESPN2's coverage last year, while Herbstreit was on ESPN's main set for Day 1. ABC will focus on the personalities and backstories of the draft picks, incorporating live musical acts into its coverage. Meanwhile, ESPN and NFL Network's coverage will be more football-centric. ESPN's coverage earlier this year was hosted by Trey Wingo with Mel Kiper Jr. and Louis Riddick. ABC will simulcast ESPN's coverage on Day 3. ESPN has carried the NFL Draft since '80. Since becoming ESPN President in the spring, Jimmy Pitaro has been open about his desire to improve relations with the NFL. This move could be viewed as a sign that the relationship between ESPN and NFL is back on solid ground. The Draft saw its best TV audience on record this year, as the three-day event averaged 5.5 million viewers across ESPN, NFL Network, Fox, ABC and ESPN2. That passed the previous high of 5.4 million viewers in '14 (John Ourand, THE DAILY).

MORE THAN JUST PICKS: YAHOO SPORTS' Frank Schwab wrote the '19 Draft will "push the idea of the draft being everything but teams picking college players to a new level." At this rate, "announcing draft picks might become optional." This could be the "right year to have musical acts going during the NFL draft." But the '19 Draft "won't be anything like the last two, when star quarterbacks and other easily recognizable names" drove huge ratings. That "won't keep the NFL from blowing it up to a larger-than-life event." There is "probably a limit to the expansion of the draft coverage, but we haven't reached it yet" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 11/26). NFL Network's Rich Eisen tweeted, "While I, as always, wish my Bristol friends the best, to channel my inner @bakermayfield, I plan on waking up dangerous that broadcast day" (TWITTER.com, 11/26).