The Walt Disney Co.’s creation of a separate NFL Draft broadcast on ABC helped ESPN fight off rival Fox Sports. It’s not about to mess with success.
For the third year in a row, Kirk Herbstreit’s “College GameDay” crew will lead ABC’s inside-out coverage of the draft. Herbstreit outlined some of the differences between ABC and ESPN’s coverage, and how their complementary approaches will help Disney dominate the draft.
More NFL insight: ABC’s coverage focuses on the journeys of top draft picks; ESPN focuses on the needs of NFL GMs. This year, viewers will still get the collegiate “storytelling,” per Herbstreit. But ABC won’t hesitate to dissect the needs of NFL clubs.
More female viewers: ABC helps the NFL attract more women and casual viewers. Last year, ABC drew more women than ESPN for both Round 1 (2.4 million vs. 2.1 million) and Rounds 2-3 (1.4 million vs. 1 million).
New show: Leading into Draft Day in Cleveland, Herbstreit will interview six top prospects on his new “QB21 with Kirk Herbstreit” show premiering April 17.
“Our Mel”: ESPN draft guru Todd McShay couldn’t contribute last year due to COVID-19. Herbstreit predicts McShay will be the “MVP” of ABC’s coverage. “Todd lives it like Mel [Kiper Jr.]. Todd is going to be our Mel.”
The 2020 “virtual draft” was the most-watched draft ever, reaching over 55 million viewers over three days across ABC, ESPN, ESPN Deportes, and NFL Network. There will still be virtual elements this year. Projected No. 1 pick Trevor Lawrence, for example, won’t attend in person.