ESPN, NFLN simply giving audience what it wants

AP

Every year at this time, a debate has emerged regarding whether ESPN and NFL Network would tip draft picks before Commissioner Roger Goodell walks to the podium and announces the pick.

As explained by Richard Deitsch of SI.com, ESPN and NFL Network have agreed once again that they won’t report on draft picks before the picks are officially disclosed.

We want to keep the suspense of the draft,” ESPN senior coordinating producer Seth Markman tells Deitsch.  “This is purely listening to the viewers and what they want.  It was overwhelming that our consumers, our viewers, our fans do not want us to spoil the draft experience.  I know some of our competitors will tweet picks, but they are not telecasting the draft.  I am sure there is a segment of the population that wants it as soon as possible, but our responsibility is to our viewers.  It’s not some big journalism discussion in my mind.  It’s ‘I don’t like angering our viewers.'”

Markman is right.  It’s not, as Deadspin has suggested, an effort by ESPN to shill for the NFL.  It’s an effort to give the audience what it wants.  And the audience, many of whom will be following the draft on Twitter, don’t want the suspense — real or fabricated — to be spoiled.

In 2013, the first year ESPN and NFL Network decided not to tip picks, a whopping 85.37 percent of those responding said they don’t want to know the picks in advance.

So we’ll put up another poll, and you can chime in again with what you want.  And if/when the needle moves the other way the NFL and ESPN can reassess their position in 2016.

Until then, the audience gets what it wants — including an oversized face mask on which to gnaw regardless of all of the filthy hands that have touched it.  Even when the audience isn’t being smart, smart media companies give the audience what it wants.

33 responses to “ESPN, NFLN simply giving audience what it wants

  1. No way. That’s like watching the Academy Awards and having them tip the winner moments before the accouncement. Of course that’s bad TV.

  2. I always found it funny when people would complain about picks being revealed on Twitter before the Commish announced the pick.

    Here’s an idea…….get off Twitter during the draft!!!!!

  3. ESPN is better at not broadcasting the picks than NFLN, at least in the first rounds.

    NFLN analysts will be like “Might we get a DE here at a spot nobody saw coming?” then the pick is of course a DE. HEY ANALYSTS we know you are tipping the picks and arent just ultra smart.

    DO NOT TIP PICKS.

  4. I’m guessing the on-air talent still gets tipped on the picks correct? I find it weird that they still keep talking like they don’t know 30 seconds before the pick is in… “Chris, I’ve just got a gut feeling that we’re going to see something unexpected here!” Really, just a gut feeling eh?

  5. in all fairness, in most drafts you know who the top five picks will be, but it’s no fun officially knowing before the commissioner says who they are

  6. It’s not what the fans want – don’t be naive. It’s what the advertisers want that matters. They want people watching their commercials.

  7. If they wanted to give the fans what they wanted they would move the draft back to Saturday and Sunday

  8. “Even when the audience isn’t being smart, smart media companies give the audience what it wants.”

    Are you implying that fans aren’t being smart because they don’t want the picks tipped?

  9. you mean more like nfl and espn has to make this into a soap opera like setting otherwise no one would give a hoot about football…gambling also gives it more appeal

  10. That’s ironic because ESPN is trying to show coverage of Alex Rodriguez breaking Willie Mays’ home run record when no one cares about him or the sport.

    Remember, World Series viewership is down 50% from 20 years ago.

  11. As long as there are mysterious power outages at critical moments I’ll be happy.

    “Dan, it sure looked like the Redskins were about to call in their pick. But thanks to that mysterious blackout, and their runner somehow knocking himself unconscious in the dark, they are out of time and the Jets are on the clock.”
    “Nothing but razzle dazzle here today, Mel.”

  12. I don’t care really 1 way or another. With all the coverage, generally the fans who pay close attention have a pretty good idea at least what the teams are going to be doing. Like someone said earlier, Twitter will always have the scoop. People who don’t want to know, stay off the internet, people who do want to know…….go on the internet, pretty simple.

  13. r8rsfan says:
    Apr 27, 2015 2:16 PM
    It’s not what the fans want – don’t be naive. It’s what the advertisers want that matters. They want people watching their commercials.
    ————————————————————–
    Couldn’t have said it better myself.

  14. well we don’t want information leaked from “sources” either.

    are you listening ESPN?

  15. So now they are listening to the fans? Really? Well, since they are listening (he writes sarchastically), can we reduce the 1st round from 15 minutes per pick? The round takes hours, and is filled with way, way, way too much useless discussion.

  16. I watch the draft to find out the picks. For me, it adds nothing that the picks are made known by someone at a podium in the middle of the stage.

    OTOH, it does detract from the event to see a team on the clock but the 2 or 3 prior picks have not been announced and thus we don’t know them. That’s more of a day 2 or 3 problem than a Day 1 problem.

  17. I can’t for the life of me figure out why anyone would want to wait for Commissioner Dbag to get up there when the pick is already in. Personally, I’d be happier with a “binge-watch” draft where I just see the entire draft at once. I don’t give a damn about the manufactured suspense, because it’s manufactured. It’s not real.

  18. If I want to know ahead of time, I’ll just check Twitter.

    The thing that always bothered me was when the on-air talent would say things like “I wouldn’t be surprised if Team X takes Player Y here.” Of course you wouldn’t be surprised, because someone already tipped you off and you knew damned well who the pick was going to be. It wasn’t the just the tipping, it was the way it was presented as if these guys are smarter than they actually are.

  19. “People who don’t want to know, stay off the internet, people who do want to know…….go on the internet, pretty simple.”

    I think that’s the point here. There was a time in the not so distant past – what three years ago? four years ago? – where as soon as the pick was in, the cameras would be all over the players watching them celebrate with their family and friends at the table. Viewers have said they don’t want to see that stuff and would prefer to wait for the pick to actually be announced.

    I can see the allure of both sides, but I prefer to wait until the pick is actually announced. It seems like that is what most people want. The good news is that for people who do want to know right away, they have a means for doing that as well.

  20. “Even when the audience isn’t being smart, smart media companies give the audience what it wants”

    what does that mean? it sounds like he is calling the fans that don’t want to pick tipped are dumb. I don’t know can anyone explain it to me

  21. beavertonsteve says:
    Apr 27, 2015 2:03 PM
    I’m guessing the on-air talent still gets tipped on the picks correct? I find it weird that they still keep talking like they don’t know 30 seconds before the pick is in… “Chris, I’ve just got a gut feeling that we’re going to see something unexpected here!” Really, just a gut feeling eh?

    Kiper will actually pause and tilt his head to listen to his earpiece before proclaiming “I’m going to go out on a limb and predict the pick will be …..” two seconds before the camera switches to the player getting the cell call in the back room. They have ruined the entire draft!

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