The NFL will conduct its annual draft starting Thursday night in New York at iconic Radio City Music Hall. The first of three days of coverage will start promptly at 8 p.m. and cover Round 1.
Coverage will be extensive and will stretch over all media platforms as the demand for all things NFL remains high. Television, radio, broadband and websites are gearing up for the three-day event.
A little history lesson: ESPN wanted to cultivate a relationship with the NFL but did not have the funds to show games. Still, it had a plan. The 1-year-old network would work with the league to televise the NFL Draft, and in 1980 a deal was crafted to do the event.
ESPN will have Chris Berman, who has anchored every NFL Draft since it started doing them live, on stage at Radio City. He will be joined by Mel Kiper Jr., who is logging his 30th draft for the network. Heading the massive crew of talent on hand for the draft coverage will be "Monday Night Football" analyst Jon Gruden as well as NFL Insiders Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter.
Not too be outdone, the NFL Network will go head-to-head with ESPN over the three days. Their primary anchor will be Rich Eisen. Other key people for the NFL Network include draft expert Mike Mayock along with former NFL coaches Steve Mariucci and Brian Billick and former general managers Charley Casserly and Scott Pioli.
On Friday night, Rounds 2 and 3 will start at 8 on ESPN2 and the NFL Network. For Rounds 4-7 on Saturday, ESPN and the NFL Network will start at noon.
Radio coverage for all three days will be on ESPN Radio, Fox Sports Radio, CBS Sports Radio Network, NBC Sports Radio Sports Network, Yahoo! Sports Radio and SiriusXM NFL Radio. For those wishing to use a smartphone or tablet, you can use the WatchESPN app as well as stream it live on NFL.com.
Examiner columnist Jim Williams is a seven-time Emmy Award-winning TV producer, director and writer. Follow him on Twitter @wordmandc.