NFL expanding television coverage for 2018 NFL Draft

The NFL today announced a new broadcast arrangement in which NFL Network and FOX will team up to simulcast live coverage of Rounds 1-3 of the 2018 NFL Draft. Additionally, the league has expanded its partnership with ESPN/ABC whereby ESPN2 will supplement ESPN's coverage of Round 1 with a separate and unique college-themed production in addition to a simulcast of ESPN's live coverage of Rounds 4-7 airing on ABC.

The 2018 NFL Draft will be held Thursday, April 26 -- Saturday, April 28 from AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

The expanded coverage gives the NFL Draft its largest audience reach ever, and marks the first time ever that the entirety of the live three-day event will air on broadcast television.

Live streaming of the 2018 NFL Draft coverage will be available across devices (smartphone, PC, tablet and connected TVs) through the NFL app or NFL.com. Fans can also stream the live 2018 NFL Draft through FOX Sports and the ESPN App, available for subscribers of the networks' participating TV providers.

The chart below provides a comprehensive look across both linear and digital channels where live coverage of the 2018 NFL Draft will be available:

Draft Round

Where to Watch

Round 1: Thursday, April 26 -- 8:00 PM ET (NFL Network, FOX, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN Deportes; NFL, FOX Sports and ESPN digital properties)

Rounds 2-3: Friday, April 27 -- 7:00 PM ET (NFL Network, FOX, ESPN/ESPN2; NFL, FOX Sports and ESPN digital properties)

Rounds 4-7: Saturday, April 28 -- Noon ET (NFL Network, ABC, ESPN; NFL and ESPN digital properties)

"The NFL Draft is a unique event on the NFL calendar where the promise and excitement of the future is universally felt among fans, players and clubs," said Brian Rolapp, Chief Media and Business Officer, NFL.

"Fan interest in the NFL Draft grows year after year, and we are excited for the opportunity to meet that demand with expanded draft coverage including a record six television networks, while deepening the relationship with our trusted broadcast partners ESPN and FOX."

NFL Draft coverage simulcast on NFL Network and FOX will be produced by NFL Network and feature co-branding, as well as a mixed team of NFL Network and NFL on FOX on-air personalities. Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback, three-time Super Bowl champion and FOX's lead game analyst for NFL coverage Troy Aikman joins live coverage of Round 1 of the 2018 NFL Draft, alongside NFL Network's Rich Eisen, Mike Mayock and Daniel Jeremiah, and Stanford head football coach David Shaw. Additionally, FOX's lead college football game analyst Joel Klatt joins pre-draft coverage of Rounds 1-3, as well as live coverage of Rounds 2-3 on Friday, April 27, which also features NFL Network/FOX talent Charles Davis and Peter Schrager, and NFL Network's Chris Rose.

"The opportunity for FOX to help shape the stories that are told around such an energetic and optimistic time for NFL fans is definitely a place we want to be," said Mark Silverman, President, FOX Sports National Networks. "Using Troy and Joel, two of the best analysts in the business, serves the NFL Draft audience in a new and fresh way."

In its 39th consecutive year presenting the NFL Draft, ESPN's coverage will include a first in 2018 as College GameDay -- college football's longest-running and most-celebrated pregame show -- will make its first visit to the NFL Draft. On Thursday, April 26, a special two-hour College GameDay (5:00-7:00 PM ET, ESPN) will originate from the NFL Draft Experience outside AT&T Stadium prior to Round 1, part of ESPN's unprecedented 26 consecutive hours of NFL Draft coverage leading into Round 1. Then at 8:00 PM ET, GameDay will be part of ESPN2's college-themed viewing option of Round 1, supplementing the traditional pick-by-pick coverage on ESPN. On Friday, April 27, GameDay will have another one-hour special (5:00 PM ET) before the draft telecast of Rounds 2-3 airs on ESPN/ESPN2 at 7:00 PM ET. ESPN Deportes will also carry a Spanish-language telecast of Round 1, while Rounds 2-3 will air in Spanish on ESPN3.

"ESPN has presented the NFL Draft for nearly 40 years and we take great pride in finding new and exciting ways to continue to elevate and differentiate our coverage," said Burke Magnus, ESPN Executive Vice President, Programming and Scheduling. "The draft is the perfect intersection of college football and the NFL, so giving fans the opportunity to experience Round 1 through the lens of College GameDay makes perfect sense. Building off the success of our NFL Wild Card and Pro Bowl simulcasts, we are also excited to present the NFL Draft on ABC for the first time with Saturday's coverage of Rounds 4-7."

The 2017 NFL Draft on NFL Network and ESPN/ESPN2 delivered a combined 2.9 HH rating and 4.6 million viewers across NFL Network and ESPN/ESPN2, up +2 percent and +6 percent respectively versus 2016. The 4.6 million viewers between NFL Network and ESPN/ESPN2 made the 2017 NFL Draft the second most-watched NFL Draft behind 2014.