Split-city approach makes sense for the draft

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For the first two nights of the draft, Philadelphia provided the perfect location. By Saturday, the buzz had largely evaporated. Which means that, as the NFL tries to continue to increase the sizzle factor of the selection process, the draft should disappear from its initial location by Saturday, too.

With so many cities interested in hosting the draft, and with plenty of them unable to match the memorable scene in Philadelphia from Thursday and Friday, the league’s best move moving forward would be to take the proceedings to a new city for the final four rounds, with a new venue, a new sense of excitement, and no way for viewers to say, “Wow, it doesn’t feel nearly the same today.”

Whether a city qualifies for the first two nights or the third day of the draft depends in large part on whether it can replicate the initial rounds, where thousands showed up in Philadelphia and made an event that doesn’t really need a stage and a crowd feel like a huge deal. Saturday can feel like a huge deal, too, if the league can find a spot where the fans will be excited to have a piece of the pie — and where the pie will more than fill up a plate deliberately engineered to be smaller than the one that holds the first two nights of the process.

The league has the option to return to Philadelphia in 2018, and if the league chooses to stay there it could make sense to test out the dual-city approach if the league chooses to keep the draft there for Thursday and Friday. A new city for Saturday would allow the league to compare and contrast the images with those from the third day in Philly, which didn’t carry the same kind of energy that emanated from the screen in rounds one, two, and three.

32 responses to “Split-city approach makes sense for the draft

  1. Maybe they can just follow the Ringling Bros. tents from town to town since it’s already a circus…

  2. Yeah I’ll be psyched out of my mind to hear some announcements at a stage for 5 hours without highlights or analysis.

  3. Day 3 sucks, because unless you’re hardcore, you haven’t heard of most of the players drafted and/or have any emotional reaction to them. I’m not changing the venue would have any impact on that. l

  4. “…memorable scene in Philadelphia” – I’d say wholly forgettable scene. The coverage was terrible and the Eagles fans were, well, they were Eagles fans and I guess from a sociological perspective, that could be considered amusing. The hosts on NFL network acted as if they were the stars of the draft. I’d rather them stick to showing clips of players as they are drafted rather than randomly skipping picks so they could hear themselves laughing about gimmicky clips of an orangutan making a pick or how much one of the hosts sweats under the lights.

  5. No matter what you do Saturday will never have the same feel as Thursday / Friday. Rounds 4 to 7 are an after thought to most fans, all Saturday was about to the fans was experiencing the “NFL Experience” on the parkway. MINIMAL people were going down for the draft itself at that point.

  6. No one cares about day 3. Doesn’t matter where you hold. How about speeding up the half hour between picks in the first round and holding the first and second on Friday and 3rd through 7th on Saturday. No need for a draft to take three days

  7. Why would the teams want to pack up all of their mobile war rooms, ship them overnight, and set them back up the next day in some other city? Are these guys just completely loafing between the end of day 2 and the start of day 3?

    I would hope they are hard at work doing last-minute research and working the phones instead of worrying about logistics. No team is ever going to want to disrupt their draft process for an overnight relocation.

  8. Split-city approach makes sense for the draft…

    No. It does not. All the logistics and costs associated with the big show and you want to do a mini-me version somewhere else?

    If you’re deadset on moving locations on Saturday, just pick the nearest Hooters.

  9. so why can’t each NFL city host it’s own “official” draft party? Have the draft all over the country. Have the coverage split as well.. seems dumb to have it in one city when you could have it in 30 plus.. have the Network set up at the Giants/Jets party and let’s roll..

  10. Nobody’s going to watch the third day of the draft, no matter where it’s staged. Just make it an online-only thing.

  11. Essentially, what you’re saying is that the league should market Day 3 of the draft like it’s the Kids’ Table at the wedding reception. #meh

  12. Day 3 was a nightmare from a viewer’s perspective because picks were being made from all over the place by random people (and animals) with few ties to the NFL. That was joke and probably could have saved the city money by having 2 days in Philly.

  13. Keep it in the same town, just put the little anchor desks at whatever the hottest sports bars in the town are. Let the bars fight over who gets the ESPN crew and who gets the NFL crew.

    Hook the feed up via satellite, keep a camera in the original location to show the picks/whatever is going on, on the stage and then just cut back to the live shot in the bar.

  14. Thursday Night: Big City
    Friday Night: Big City
    Saturday: Small Market (Rounds 4 & 5)
    Sunday: Small Market (Rounds 6 & 7)

    Markets like Green Bay, Kansas City, Cleveland and Minnesota would absolutely eat up Day 3 and Day 4 of the Draft, especially if the NFL rolled out a “Fan Experience” type set up to go along with the selection process.

    And for those of you that “don’t care” about rounds 4-7, it doesn’t apply to you, anyway.

  15. How about worrying less about location and more about quality. Old ex players reading a card, Whoopie. Goodell having to walk clear across the stage for every pick. Nonsense. We fans could care less about who’s in the green room. It’s not rocket science.

  16. I went to the draft this year, primarily because it’s in my hometown and there was no way I was going to miss it. Plus it fell on my son’s 11th birthday so we got to have some quality time. But I made up in my mind beforehand that I’m only stay for 1-3 rounds. 4-7 in one day, that’s way too much.

  17. I’ve been to the draft twice, it is a good time.
    Rounds 1 & 2 are great. When you get to round 3, you don’t know as many players, still good. Beyond that , very few want to but $10 Beers to see who their 6th round special teams player is going to be. Hold Round 1 and then 2&3 in a stadium with jumbo trons.
    Hold 4-7 in a theatre. Only the hardest of the hard core stick around past round 3

  18. Take the Johnny Cash route and hold the later rounds of the Draft in different prison facilities around the country. You know the audience won’t be going anywhere for the those boring rounds.

  19. Not until it was in Philly this year did the city even matter when it came to pulling ratings. Somehow, the producers of the “show” wanted to make it as much about the city as the draft itself.

    Therefore, it’s no surprise that this is the year when someone would say that the problem with the Saturday broadcast is that it is in the same city as the Thursday and Friday broadcast.

    But the fact is, rounds 4-7 do not make for compelling TV, regardless of setting.

    I love those rounds because I’m a football knucklehead. But even I’m not gonna sit through all of it.

  20. That’s stupid.

    How about having all of the potential draft picks huddle in their nearest Hooters across the country, serving as a multi-site ‘green room’… and, Roger Goodell, shot into space that morning by SpaceX, orbiting Planet Earth, announcing the picks and landing near the Hooters where the final draft pick and Mr. Irrelevant are hanging out.

    That’d be awesome.

  21. They should hold the draft in cities that have no pro teams – it may be the only pro sports anything the residents for a hundred miles around may ever get to see.

  22. Sorry but that makes no sense. The waste of time and money to move to a new location is dumb. It’s round 4 and up that is the problem.

  23. Go back to having the draft on Saturday and Sunday. I miss having the excuse to go to day drink on Saturday with the guys and gals that we spend 17 Sundays with in the fall…then on Sunday nurse the handover watching the second half of the draft.

  24. The draft is a testament to the interest and passion for college football, much more than the NFL.

  25. The NFL kicked in 25 million for the set-up in Philly, why would the NFL want to put out even more money to set-up a separate day 3 location? Aside from the money having to pack up and move mid-draft is a terrible idea.

  26. The “best” approach would be to spend a ton of money moving locations to televise something only a few people watch anyway?

    I’m talking about day three of the draft. I’m as hardcore an NFL fan as they come, and I rarely WATCH rounds 4-7. I follow the picks on my smartphone or computer, but listening to four hours of babble about players that likely start (and probably finish) their careers on special teams is not something I’m interested in.

    Even if they moved the draft to Mars on day three, I doubt the ratings would improve. We are talking about 12-4pm on a Saturday. Day three does not bring viewers, period.

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