Roger Goodell announced at this year’s NFL owners meetings that the league will put together a committee to determine the future time and whereabouts of the NFL Draft.
“We’re looking at everything,” Goodell said to a group of reporters at the Owners meetings. “We think that the draft has a great deal more potential to grow in popularity.”
The draft, which is usually held in April at Radio City Music Hall, took place in May this year due to a scheduling conflict with Radio City.
However, despite the moaning from some fans and NFL front-office personnel regarding this year’s late draft date, this year’s draft received it’s highest television ratings since 1993.
ESPN received a 31% increase in viewers from last year’s draft. According to The Nielson Company, 45.7 million views tuned into this year’s draft coverage on ESPN, ESPN2 and NFL Network.
We don’t believe (the date) affected us in a negative way at all this year,” said Goodell.
Many have attributed the boost in ratings to this year’s later draft date, but certainly the climatic draft day fall of Johnny Manziel on Day 1 and the groundbreaking drafting of Michael Sam certainly could explain the increase in ratings this year.
Particularly the high number of viewers that tuned in during rounds 4-7, many of whom were certainly waiting to see Sam become the first openly-gay player drafted into the NFL.
Despite the success of this May’s NFL Draft, some NFL people still feel uncomfortable with having the draft so late.
“If I were king of the world, I’d put it right back to where it was,” said Giants Owner John Mara at the Owners meetings. “But that’s probably not realistic. I certainly don’t think it ought to be on Mother’s Day weekend. But we’ll see.”