Officially, it’s the National Football League’s player selection meeting. It’s an event that takes place every year, in which 32 NFL teams get to select eligible football players.
But it’s not just an occasion to recruit players. It’s about hope and the future. A chance for teams to turn their fortunes around by adding college players considered to be the most talented in the world.
We asked CCTV’s Roza Kazan to explain the draft.
Here’s the way the draft works:
- It consists of seven rounds held over three days.
- The teams pick in reverse order of their success.
- The team with the worst record has the first pick of each round (that’s the Los Angeles Rams this year).
- The team with the best record – the Super Bowl champions of course (the Denver’s Broncos) go last.
- The teams can also trade their picks and move up in the order.
From an obscure event several decades ago, it’s become a live televised extravaganza, complete with a red-carpet appearances and expert analysis. It’s also a chance for fans to see the next big stars of the NFL.
The NFL doesn’t release exact figures, but tickets to the event in Chicago go as high as $5,000.
It’s also a reality TV show in its purest form. In 2014, first-day coverage on the sports network, ESPN, drew on average seven million viewers. ESPN alone will devote more than 110 hours of programming to this year’s event.
The draft falls in the middle of the off-season, and the league has managed to create huge excitement around it, attracting dozens of companies, including McDonald’s, Visa and Bud Light. Sponsorship spending on the NFL totaled $1.2 billion last season.
The draft moved to Chicago last year because the event needed more space. Activities and displays take up as much room as 20 football fields. Chicago officials claim it’s well worth it. Around 200,000 people attended the event last year and the draft had a direct economic impact of $44 million, including hotel revenue, dining, sales tax revenue and temporary jobs.
But some economists point out that numbers might be inflated. Half of the attendees are Chicago residents, and they would have spent that kind of money anyway on other activities around the city.
There are also security considerations and other costs.
For now, while several other cities have expressed interest, Chicago is still in the spotlight.
Norm O’Reilly on the NFL in China
To learn more about the likelihood of an NFL game being played in China in the near future, we are joined by Norm O’Reilly, a professor at Ohio University’s College of Business.