2022 NFL DRAFT: Fresh Hope For Fanbases & Publishers During Football Offseason's Crown Jewel

July 30, 2023

A football athlete holds up his hands and ball while being lifted up by his teammate

April provides a grandiose entree to satisfy football-starved Americans. Entertainment mecca Las Vegas will host the NFL Draft for the first time on April 28-30.

The annual three-day, seven-round megaevent represents the most important dates on the NFL’s offseason calendar. And while the league welcomes a group of world-class talent, the draft will attract lapsed and new fans and big brands, meaning fresh advertising and engagement opportunities for publishers.

Distributed Media Lab’s sports content solutions unlock the best NFL coverage for your readers while facilitating new advertising relationships.

NFL Draft Audience and Revenue Generators

The NFL is basking in the sustained spoils of the gridiron’s golden age atop the professional sports hierarchy in North America. The league’s showcase events continue to challenge recent gaudy benchmarks.

According to a league press release: “The 2021 NFL Draft was seen by an average audience of 6.1 million viewers (TV and digital) across NFL Network, ABC, ESPN, ESPN Deportes and digital channels during the three-day event, making it the third most-watched draft ever. The three most-watched drafts in NFL history have occurred in the last three years: 2019 (6.2 million), 2020 (8.3 million), 2021 (6.1 million).”

With such a significant, captive audience, Disney (the draft’s broadcast rights holder), sold out the advertising inventory for its three-day coverage last year. According to a Front Office Sports report, “More than 100 brands…purchased ads for the NFL’s biggest offseason event. Disney secured 40 new advertisers… including Snickers, Subway and Volkswagen.”

The draft also generates a big chunk of change from the nascent U.S. sports gambling industry. In 2020, American sportsbooks reportedly saw a record handle for the draft. According to a press release on Cision: “Sports bettors wagered $20 million on [the 2020] draft. The $20 million represents the money Vegas sportsbooks and other U.S.-based sportsbooks accepted. Offshore companies and local bookies don't release wagering handle stats. The overall number from betting on the 2020 NFL Draft may have eclipsed $50 million.”

This year’s draft is sure to rival the record metrics previously mentioned thanks to potential franchise-altering talents in the prospect pool, like defensive playmakers Aidan Hutchinson of Michigan, Travon Walker from Gerogia’s national championship squad and Notre Dame’s Kyle Hamilton, plus top quarterbacks Malik Willis (Liberty) and Kenny Pickett (Pitt).

Solutions Through DML Collections

Our NFL league-wide collection is an excellent product for publications of any size to discover all the benefits of the draft’s engagement spikes.

Our hand-curated collection has everything an NFL fan needs to stay in the know. It’s filled with expert analysis, position needs and ideal prospect fits for every team, plus star prospect profiles and origin stories.

We also offer individual collections for all 32 NFL teams for publications that prefer to focus solely on the teams in their own backyard. These products will give more weight to local newspapers, TV and radio stations in the curation strategy, but will also pull in national outlets’ coverage with a local focus.

Our trending sports collection is another option for smaller outlets. This collection will provide broad coverage of the NFL Draft’s key moments and highlights. It will also mix in the news from the NBA and NHL playoffs and MLB regular season and other top headlines. Trending Sports has a long shelf life and can sustain reader engagement beyond the three-day draft and its immediate aftermath with a continuous stream of the latest, most engaging sports news.

How to Monetize the Draft

Publishers should use the NFL Draft to open a gateway to new, fruitful sponsor relationships, whether it’s grocery stores, restaurants, big-box retailers, car dealerships, furniture stores, sports betting sites, or beer and liquor brands. “Presented by” branding is available for sponsorship of our curated collections. There’s additional display advertising inventory available for a brand within the collection’s content viewer experience. A branded or sponsored content component is also an option, with content placement in the fourth card of our collection. Sports betting guides, tips from sportsbooks and game day recipes from grocery store chains are possible custom content opportunities. You can see a current example of custom content in our Community Empowerment collection:

We recommend selling impression-based campaigns at $15 retail CPM for our two local sales campaign offerings. The retail rate for share-of-voice campaigns can vary widely based on the size and quality of the publisher's audience. DML charges a $250 floor or a $2 CPM for all collection campaigns, whichever is higher, for managed service fees.

Act Now!

Don’t let the NFL Draft pass you by without taking DML up on our no-risk opportunity for collection embeds. Register to gain access to our Marketplace by clicking the link above. You can have our sports collections on your site with just a few clicks and be a step closer to earning more money for your publication.

For more information, contact me directly at chris@distributedmedialab.com.

Chris Cornell
Dir. Sports & Special Projects
Distributed Media Lab

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