Live From the NFL Draft: NFL Digital Media Rolls Out Largest Presence Ever, Streams Every Single Pick Live
NFL Digital Media rolled out its largest presence to date at the NFL Draft in Chicago this week with two dedicated studio sets in order to produce its NFL Draft LIVE streaming show – the only outlet to see every single pick during the Draft. NFL Digital has erected a dedicated set near Selection Square in Grant Park and a newsroom-style Social Media Command Center (dubbed “The Huddle”) near Buckingham Fountain. These locations are sending back a total of five discreet camera feeds to NFL Media’s Culver City, CA, broadcast center, where the full NFL Draft LIVE show is being integrated and streamed out to fans.
“This is the first time we have ever produced an original production on all three days of the Draft,” says NFL Digital Media Coordinating Producer Mark Brady. “It’s exciting that we are able to deliver every single pick and do it across so many digital [platforms]. It’s definitely a big step forward for us.”
The At-Home Production Model in Action for NFL Digital
While NFL Network and ESPN will incorporate a handful of pick announcements into their linear telecasts for Rounds 4 through 7 on Saturday – all of which are being made from teams’ home cities this year – NFL Draft LIVE will carry every single pick live. NFL Draft LIVE is available on NFL.com (desktop and tablets), the NFL Mobile from Verizon mobile app, NFL Now, and connected devices, including Xbox One.
Five dedicated camera feeds – three from the Selection Square set and two from the Social Media Command Center – are being sent discretely via NFL Media’s redundant fiber circuits back to Culver City. NFL Digital is utilizing two separate control rooms there – one to integrate the content being produced in Chicago and another to create original studio content for the show.
NFL.com’s Draft Tracker also has live coverage of every selection in the draft, including analysis of the picks as they happen.
Going Deeper With Draftees on Thursday Night
Thursday night proved to be a shining moment for NFL Digital, as every single on-site draftee visited its Selection Square set shortly after being drafted for in-depth interviews.
“Thursday night is an extremely exciting night and it’s great that we get this opportunity to have all the [draftees] sit down with us,” says Brady. “The way we look at it from a Digital standpoint is this is the only place where you can get this in-depth of an interview with the players. On the networks, Deion Sanders and Suzy Kolber will do interviews that run under a minute, whereas we could get 10 minutes. It’s a great way to distinguish our show from what you’re getting on NFL Network and ESPN and there’s no way other place to get that during the Draft.”
Brady also cites the advantage Digital has to immediately distribute these interviews for on-demand consumption on the league’s digital platforms, as well as all 32 teams’ websites.
Inside ‘The Huddle’: An Entire Set Dedicated to Social
The Social Media Command Center builds on a structure similar to the one NFL Digital erected at Super Bowl XLIV earlier this year, but “The Huddle” is significantly larger, according to Brady. The newsroom-style structure features the NFL Digital social media team at work inside, along with a stand-up position and a 55-inch touch screen monitor. “The Huddle” is also being used to produce content for NFL Network.
NFL Digital is working with Spredfast and Trendsmap social media management and tracking software to analyze social trends in real-time and monitor instant fan reactions to their team’s selections via social media.
“This is the first time we have had a set that is this large in scope,” says Brady. “Not only is this in a broadcast area, but Dave Feldman — who heads up our social team — his staff will be working here as well as monitoring social activity throughout the Draft.”