The draft is coming to FOX. For at least five years, according to John Ourand of SportsBusiness Journal.
The duration hardly is coincidental; FOX recently secured the rights to Thursday Night Football for the next five years. Per Ourand, the price for televising the draft is built into the overall price paid by FOX for the TNF rights.
FOX will simulcast NFL Network’s Thursday, consisting of the first round, and Friday coverage, which includes rounds two and three. It’s unclear what will happen on Saturday for rounds four through seven. Per Ourand, FOX has commitments for the third day of the 2018 draft, and it may not be able to adjust them.
FOX will co-produce the event with NFL Network.
As noted by Ourand, ESPN becomes the clear loser here, with a three-letter broadcast network now attracting millions of eyeballs that otherwise would watch the four-letter network that has been televising the draft for decade.
NFL Network had been grabbing a bigger and bigger share of the total draft audience, maxing out at 33 percent in 2017. ESPN’s share will surely drop well below 67 percent with FOX now pumping out the NFLN feed.