ESPN is televising the NFL Draft for the 32nd consecutive year in 2011. The telecast will air April 28-30 on ESPN, ESPN2 and via ESPN authentication services on ESPNNetworks.com and the Watch ESPN app with the first two nights in primetime. Draft-related content will also be available across multiple ESPN platforms, including ESPN Radio, ESPN.com, ESPN Mobile, ESPN The Magazine, ESPN Classic and ESPN International. Highlights:
ESPN and ESPN2 will combine to televise 16 planned hours of the 2011 NFL Draft in high definition, as well as 19 hours of SportsCenter Special shows during NFL Draft week. Chris Berman (covering his 31st Draft) will host ESPN’s primetime coverage Thurs., April 28 and Fri., April 29, at Radio City Music Hall in New York. He will be joined by analyst Mel Kiper, Jr. (his 28th Draft) and Monday Night Football analyst and Super Bowl-winning head coach Jon Gruden on ESPN’s main set. Senior NFL Insider Chris Mortensen and NFL Insider Adam Schefter will report from an additional set location at Radio City, while MNF reporter Suzy Kolber will conduct interviews on-site with Draft prospects.
ESPN NFL Draft telecast schedule (Apr. 28-30):
|Thurs., April 28||8-11:30 p.m.||NFL Draft (Round 1)||ESPN|
|Fri., April 29||6-10:30 p.m.||NFL Draft (Rounds 2-3)||ESPN/switches to ESPN2|
|Sat., April 30||12 – 8 p.m.||NFL Draft (Rounds 4-7)||ESPN|
Coverage from ESPN’s studios in Bristol, Conn., will begin at 3 p.m. on both Thursday and Friday with SportsCenter Special: On the Clock hosted by NFL Live’s Trey Wingo with analysts Tedy Bruschi, Herm Edwards and ESPN Scouts Inc. director of college scouting Todd McShay. At 4:30 p.m., MNF’s Mike Tirico assumes host duties in Bristol with analysts Cris Carter, Trent Dilfer, Tom Jackson, Ron Jaworski, Keyshawn Johnson, Steve Young and McShay.
Day 3 coverage will begin Saturday, April 30 at 10 a.m. on ESPN with a two-hour SportsCenter Special: On the Clock followed by all eight hours (12–8 p.m.) of Rounds 4-7 with Wingo hosting from Radio City with Kiper, Trent Dilfer, McShay, Mortensen and Schefter. Kolber will co-host from Bristol with Bruschi, Edwards and Jaworski.
Sunday’s coverage will include a two-hour SportsCenter Special: Draft Wrap Up at 1 p.m. on ESPN with Mike Hill and analysts Edwards, Kiper and McShay. (The program will re-air that evening at 10 p.m. on ESPN2.)
ESPN will dispatch reporters to team sites across the country, including: Colleen Dominguez (Arizona Cardinals), Bob Holtzman (Cincinnati Bengals), Sal Paolantonio (Carolina Panthers), Mark Schwarz (Washington), Michael Smith (New England Patriots) and Ed Werder (Denver Broncos). Jeremy Schaap will cover events hosted by the NFL Players Association during Draft weekend.
- Red Carpet interviews as Draft prospects arrive at Radio City on Day 1;
- High definition videoconferencing with all 32 teams using Glowpoint telepresence technology;
- Wider full-screen visual presentation with a bottom line “crawl” compression (Photo);
- Draft telecast will use 18 cameras at Radio City, including two RF steadicams and 3 jibs;
- Technology elements, including perceptive pixel touch screen, 65-inch interactive depth chart, virtual graphics and ESPN Axis;
- Live shots with some 15 Draft prospects, capturing their reactions as they’re picked;
- More than 300 player highlight packages;
- More than 75 rapid-fire player video bumps of Draft prospects to be used in and out of commercial breaks, shot in a 13-camera “matrix-style” environment;
- Analysis segments on 2011 Draft prospects with Sport Science host John Brenkus;
- SportsCenter Special: Bill Parcells’ Draft Confidential (Tuesday, April 26, at 9:30 p.m., ESPN) – Two-time Super Bowl-winning head coach Bill Parcells shares his secrets, philosophies and inside knowledge on how the draft works in this unique 90-minute special hosted by Mike Tirico.
- Audibles (Tuesday, May 3 at 9 p.m., ESPN) – The NFL-themed roundtable discussion series returns with analysts Dilfer, Edwards, Johnson and Young recapping the 2011 NFL Draft, along with Kiper. They will also take questions based on topics suggested in real-time by fans using social media sites Facebook and Twitter.
ESPN’s 2011 NFL Draft marketing campaign features two spots: “Draft Builders” which focuses on how the Green Bay Packers built their Super Bowl XLV championship team through the NFL Draft; and “Players,” which features top prospects in the 2011 Draft class. The campaign was created by ESPN Consumer Marketing and produced by Triple Double in Los Angeles.
Football Tonight host Freddie Coleman will anchor ESPN Radio’s 2011 NFL Draft coverage Thursday and Friday, April 28-29, from Radio City with ESPN.com senior NFL writer John Clayton, former NFL Quarterback Tim Hasselbeck and ESPN NFL Draft guru Mel Kiper Jr., providing analysis of each first round pick. ESPN Radio’s coverage will start Thursday at 7 p.m. (Round 1) and Friday at 6 p.m. (Rounds 2-3). Draft analysis and all significant news throughout Rounds 4-7 on Saturday, April 30 will be reported by Clayton.
ESPN.com’s 2011 NFL Draft section will offer comprehensive coverage leading up to and throughout all three days of the draft with analysis and insight from Mel Kiper, Todd McShay, Scouts Inc. experts and others. All eight NFL division bloggers will be part of ESPN.com’s “real-time conversation” from various team sites, including Tim Graham (Buffalo), Paul Kuharsky (Tennessee), Mike Sando (Seattle), Kevin Seifert (Minnesota), James Walker (Cleveland), Bill Williamson (Denver) and Pat Yasinskas (Tampa). ESPN.com senior writer John Clayton (New York) and Jeffri Chadiha (Kansas City) will also offer columns and insights.
Pre-Draft highlights: Scouts Inc. reports on approximately 350 prospects through ESPN’s DraftTracker; Kiper’s Big Board; features by ESPN’s division bloggers examining each team’s draft possibilities; regularly updated mock drafts; reports on individual workouts and evaluations of each team’s Draft needs and potential strategies; a blogger mock draft; and profiles on prominent draft prospects, including Cam Newton, Blaine Gabbert, J.J. Watt and Prince Amukamara,
Draft coverage: The three-day coverage will include DraftCast and NFL Draft Live, a feature that allows users to interact throughout the draft with ESPN.com writers, bloggers and other draft experts across the country; DraftTracker: pick-by-pick data in real time; a social media application that integrates Facebook; SportsNation polling; live blogging and team reviews from all eight NFL division bloggers; video breakdowns of every first-round pick by ESPN’s Herm Edwards; pick-by-pick analysis by Scouts Inc., and Kiper’s team-by-team draft grades.
ESPN Mobile will give fans on-the-go access to Draft-related news and information including a Draft section on ESPN’s mobile web site complete with video, player profiles, analysis and breaking news. NFL Draft content will also be integrated into the ESPN ScoreCenter app – available for iPhone, Android and Windows Phone 7 devices – including an NFL Draft card delivering news, video, tweets and live draft results, ESPN Alerts by round and for each NFL and college football team and results integrated within the personalized myTeams card. Fans also have the option to text DRAFT to 23776 to sign up for ESPN Alerts of the first five picks. ESPN Alerts is also integrated in the NFL Draft card in the ScoreCenter app and via SMS texts on most major carriers.
ESPN International will offer coverage of the NFL Draft to more than 57.9 million households in 161 countries and territories throughout Africa, Brazil, Caribbean, Latin America, Middle East, Israel, Australia, New Zealand, Pacific Islands, Europe on ESPN America, and Canada on TSN.
ESPN Classic continues its 20-day marathon (April 9-28) of NFL players and college stars ‘Before They Were Pros.’ The series features more than 50 classic college football games highlighting both current NFL stars and many of the top 2011 Draft prospects, including A.J. Green (April 23, 5 p.m.), Mark Ingram (April 24, 5 p.m.), Von Miller (April 25, 1 p.m.), Da’Quan Bowers (April 25, 5 p.m.), Jake Locker (April 26, 5 p.m.), Ryan Mallett (April 27, 9 a.m.), Cam Newton (April 27, 5 p.m.) and Blaine Gabbert (April 28, 4 p.m.), among others.
ESPN The Magazine
ESPN The Magazine’s NFL Draft issue features Washington quarterback Jake Locker on the cover and asks the question: What round will he go in? After shocking scouts and deciding to return for his senior year, the once-projected top pick is now facing the 2011 Draft with a not-so-stellar season behind him. In “A Matter of Perspective,” The Mag asked some experts—including an offensive coordinator, two directors of college scouting, Locker’s brain specialist and QB coach—to break down his best game from last season and evaluate his skills. The NFL Draft issue, on newsstands April 8, also highlights a crew of mid-round draft prospects who won’t get a chance to grace Radio City’s stage but still got a taste of the Big Apple when The Mag brought them to NYC for star treatment and a photo shoot. “Kings for a Day” features Rashad Carmichael (Virginia Tech), Casey Matthews (Oregon), Stevan Ridley (LSU), Tyler Sash (Iowa), Colin Kaepernick (Nevada) and Jeremy Kerley (TCU). Video | Cover
ESPN The Magazine will host its eighth annual Ultimate Pre-Draft Party on Wednesday, April 27 at ESPACE, New York City. The party will feature DJ ?uestlove. This private, invite-only party will host invited members of the 2011 Draft Class and other athlete and celebrity guests.