ESPN and NFL Network Could Have Combined Draft Telecast With Possible Fundraising Element

NFL Draft
NFL Draft / Joe Robbins/Getty Images

This year's NFL Draft will be unlike previous editions for obvious reasons. Teams will not have their traditional war rooms and will have to adapt via video conference. The novel challenges extend to the broadcast space as well, meaning rivals may have to join forces for the greater common distraction.

To that end, ESPN and NFL Network may do a combined telecast instead of operating in separate silos, NBC Sports' Peter King reports this morning. This would allow Rich Eisen, Daniel Jeremiah, and others to work out of the Bristol studios as the NFL's facilities in California and New Jersey are unlikely to be open for business under state decrees.

King also reveals:

"The league is closing in on plans to weave a fundraising element into all three days of the telecast, complete with celebrity players and former players and coaches urging viewers to donate to coronavirus-related causes. Raising some number of millions for health-care providers or PPE gear or local causes or those out of work because of the pandemic could—could, I stress—make the weekend a positive event in a sea of terrible news around America."

The NFL has not wavered at all in its steadfast commitment to business as usual. I'm not alone in the opinion that conducting the draft amid what could be the apex of the coronavirus pandemic will be something they regret. Finding a way to put a positive spin on it and do some good is a no-brainer and all efforts would be appreciated.

It is a bit strange a telethon has not materialized to this point, whether it be on a sports or entertainment network. Perhaps that's because unlike a hurricane or wildfire, where the impact is concentrated in a specific area, this disaster is omnipresent and economically depressing nationwide.

The league and its broadcast partners will find a way to ensure the show goes on. It'll be a bizarre study in cognitive dissonance in a few weeks. But if it helps distract people and raises some funds, it won't be all bad.