For all the hype and promotion surrounding professional sports, one of its most watched events doesn’t end with a winner or loser.
In fact there isn’t even a final score.
Just lots of hope for fans of NFL teams everywhere.
The NFL Draft has become its own cottage industry within a sport.
Now carried on both ESPN and the NFL Network, nearly 39 million persons saw part of the draft last year, a new record, according to Dan Caesar’s column in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
And 6.3 million watched the first round, also a record.
This year the draft will be carried in prime time, and over a three night period.
The interesting public relations aspect of this event is that there is no ongoing push to promote it. No need for a bevy of spokespeople armed with talking points to visit local and national media outlets.
The real promotion begins as soon as the regular NFL season comes to a halt and the draft order of the worst teams has been decided.
Fans begin wondering who their team their select.
Will they go with the hot-shot often injured quarterback or the more reliable all american defensive tackle?
And they begin jamming the radio sports talk shows with theories and statistics of why one player should be selected before the other.
This goes on for months until the draft is concluded.
In reality very few first round draft picks have enough of an impact to turn around a downtrodden team.
Most 1-15 and 2-14 teams don’t get well in a hurry. It usually takes an infusion of new talent at various positions over a period of time. Usually two seasons, sometimes more.
And a lot of talent is acquired through free agent pick-ups or trades (some of which do include exchanging draft choices).
Still the NFL draft is great theatre. Many fans even dress-up in their team jerseys and sit in the stands as they watch the proceedings.
They boo and cheer with each choice as if they were at a game itself.
For a non-sports event the NFL Draft is very special.
It’s more of a party or a happening for football starved fans who can’t wait to hear that their team is now “on the board”.