From TV to mobile apps, including Twitter’s Periscope, sports fans will have more ways to experience this year’s NFL draft.
The NFL draft is perhaps the world’s greatest sporting event where no actual game is played, attracting millions of fans eager to learn what NFL teams will sign last season’s top college players. This year’s 80th NFL draft held in Chicago will engage more eyes on more screen types and mediums than ever before.
ESPN has full television broadcast rights to the NFL draft, but it will be available on second-screen experiences such as the ESPN app, FOX Sports GO and CBS Sports. Each network has its own football experts and on-air talent to provide coverage tailored to their audiences.
The live streams on the internet could lay the groundwork for non-rights-holding broadcasters to attract new viewers and bring new, engaging experiences to fans.
Periscope, the new live video streaming app that Twitter purchased earlier this year, is optimal for live sporting events. While there has been some trepidation by leagues to allow its use due to broadcast rights, FOX is using Periscope to provide live draft video coverage via Twitter.
Thanks to a $400 million, five-year deal between Microsoft and the NFL in 2013, Xbox One owners can use the Microsoft NFL app to follow their team, track specific player news and take part in live polls. Xbox Live subscribers get to watch NFL Network’s live broadcast of the draft, and simultaneously play an Xbox game.
For new Apple Watch owners, the New England Patriots released an Apple Watch app that monitors each draft selection and alerts fans when the Pats draft a player.
Virtual reality (VR) technology will play a major role in giving fans in Chicago access to unique NFL player experiences. Verizon is providing a virtual reality experience to fans at NFL Draft Town, a giant outdoor football festival in Chicago’s Grant Park and Congress Plaza that will be set up for the duration of the draft.
Fans will be able to experience a variety of VR head-mounted displays with a specific application that will demonstrate in 360 degrees what it is like to experience life as an NFL player who runs out of the tunnel at the start of the game, gets pumped with their teammates and scores a touchdown.
These are a handful of technologies making the NFL draft more engaging and potentially memorable than ever before.