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ESPN’s 44th NFL Draft; ABC’s storytelling approach returns for fifth time
√ Nearly 35 hours of cross-platform programming from Kansas City over three days; extended editions of ‘NFL Live’ and ‘College GameDay Built by The Home Depot’
√ Mel Kiper Jr. works his 40th NFL Draft; Todd McShay returns to ABC presentation
√ Booger McFarland, Louis Riddick, Kirk Herbstreit, Desmond Howard, Robert Griffin III & Sam Ponder are among the many voices; Mike Greenberg and Rece Davis host
ESPN’s longstanding tradition of presenting the NFL Draft, dating back to 1980, continues as The Walt Disney Company will present the 2023 NFL offseason’s signature event from Kansas City across ESPN, ABC, ESPN Radio, ESPN Deportes and ESPN’s social media platforms over the course of the Draft’s three days (April 27-29). Combined with ESPN’s studio show offerings, more than 30 hours of live programming will originate from the home city of the reigning Super Bowl Champions throughout the NFL Draft.
For the fifth year, ESPN and ABC will have two distinct telecasts, offering viewers multiple ways to consume the event over the first two nights, both in primetime, with Thursday, April 27, starting at 8 p.m. EDT; and Friday, April 28, beginning at 7 p.m. ESPN’s traditional presentation will focus on the NFL teams, the prospects, and how the selections will impact the play on the field. ABC, while still providing key analysis, will focus more on storytelling, giving fans a glimpse at the prospects’ backgrounds and their journeys to the NFL. On day three of the Draft, Saturday, April 29, starting at noon, ESPN’s presentation will be simulcast on ABC.
ESPN Radio, ESPN Deportes and ESPN social platforms will also offer coverage of all three days, with ESPN digital shows available across YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and the ESPN app.
The Walt Disney Company’s 2023 NFL Draft multiplatform presentation punctuates ESPN’s presence in Kansas City, which includes multiple editions of “NFL Live” and “College GameDay Built by The Home Depot,” as well as on-site contributions to the entire portfolio of studio shows. Beginning at 3 p.m. Thursday, ESPN will feature wall-to-wall coverage leading into round one. Details on additional programming originating from Kansas City are below.
Note: ESPN’s Friday Draft coverage may shift to ESPN2 pending potential NBA Playoff telecasts.
The 2023 NFL Draft, in its entirety, will also be televised on NFL Network and streamed live via NFL digital properties.
Image courtesy of NFL Media
On Location in the City of Fountains
ESPN’s set will be inside the NFL theater at Kansas City’s historic Union Station, while ABC’s setup will be just beyond the theater, next to the Henry Wollman Bloch Fountain. On Saturday, ESPN’s coverage will originate from the ABC set.
ESPN Radio will broadcast from the media headquarters adjacent to Union Station for all three days, with each draftee in attendance scheduled to be interviewed after they are selected.
ESPN Personalities Assemble in BBQ Capital of the World
ESPN’s NFL Draft commentator roster is full of familiar faces, including Mel Kiper Jr., who will be working his 40th NFL Draft for ESPN. Booger McFarland, a 1999 NFL draftee, and Louis Riddick, a 1991 NFL draftee, will join Kiper on the desk for Thursday and Friday night, their fifth and ninth years, respectively, as part of ESPN’s NFL Draft broadcast. Mike Greenberg, an ESPN mainstay for more than 26 years, will host the NFL Draft on ESPN for the third consecutive year.
Established NFL contributors Suzy Kolber, Adam Schefter and Chris Mortensen will all once again be part of ESPN’s NFL Draft telecast, with Kolber interviewing prospects following their selection, and Schefter and Mortensen providing all the latest news from around the NFL.
ESPN will have five reporters stationed at team facilities across the country, bringing fans the latest news and information from the team war rooms:
√ Sal Paolantonio (Carolina Panthers)
√ Ed Werder (Houston Texans)
√ Dianna Russini (Indianapolis Colts)
√ Jeff Darlington (Seattle Seahawks)
√ Kimberley A. Martin (Detroit Lions)
The ABC set will feature ESPN senior NFL Draft analyst Todd McShay and members of the Emmy Award-winning cast of “College GameDay” for the first two nights. Kirk Herbstreit and Desmond Howard, the fourth overall pick in the 1992 NFL Draft, join McShay, with Rece Davis hosting the coverage.
Robert Griffin III, a first-round selection in the 2012 NFL Draft, and Sam Ponder, host of “Sunday NFL Countdown,” will be on a second ABC set. “NFL Live” and “SEC Nation” host Laura Rutledge will be in the green room while college football Insider Pete Thamel will contribute with the latest news and information.
On Friday, David Pollack, the 17th overall pick in the 2005 NFL Draft, will join Howard, McShay and Davis on ABC’s set.
For the NFL Draft’s final day, Kiper, McShay, Riddick and Davis will team up from the ABC set to bring fans coverage of rounds four through seven on ESPN and ABC. This year, NFL Draft analyst and Missouri native Matt Miller will debut as part of ESPN’s Draft coverage on day three.
Image courtesy of NFL Media
ESPN Radio, ESPN Social Platforms and ESPN Deportes
ESPN Radio’s coverage will be made up of 11-year NFL vet Chris Canty, former NFL general manager Mike Tannenbaum, Ian Fitzsimmons and host Chris Carlin. NFL Draft analyst Jordan Reid will join Tannenbaum and Fitzsimmons on Saturday.
Throughout NFL Draft week, special live ESPN digital shows – all available on YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and the ESPN app – will feature an array of ESPN personalities:
√ Monday, April 24, 2-3 p.m.: “First Draft” – Field Yates hosts as Kiper and McShay break down their final mock drafts before heading to Kansas City.
√ Wednesday, April 26, 6-6:30 p.m.: “Pre-Draft Tailgate” – Jason Fitz and Skubie Mageza examine the biggest storylines going into the Draft, and interview Draft experts for their insights.
√ Thursday, April 27, 8 p.m.-midnight: Live coverage of the NFL Draft – Yates, Fitz, Harry Douglas, Andrew Hawkins, Spencer Hall and Harry Lyles Jr. analyze and discuss every pick in the first round.
√ Friday, April 28, 7 p.m.-midnight: Live coverage of the NFL Draft – Yates, Fitz, Douglas, Hawkins, Hall and Lyles Jr. analyze and discuss every pick in rounds two and three.
On ESPN Deportes, “Monday Night Football” voices Eduardo Varela and Pablo Viruega will deliver exclusive Spanish-language coverage from ESPN’s headquarters in Bristol, Connecticut, alongside NFL experts Sebastián M. Christensen and Miguel Pasquel. Reporter Katia Castorena will be on-site in Kansas City.
ESPN’s coverage of the 2023 NFL Draft will also air globally, reaching more than 59 million households in Spanish-speaking Latin America, Brazil, Australia, New Zealand, the Pacific Islands, the Caribbean, the Netherlands and Africa.
‘NFL Live’ and ‘College GameDay’ to Travel to Kansas City
Leading into the start of the NFL Draft, extended editions of “NFL Live” and “College GameDay” will air live from Union Station, kicking off the festivities from Kansas City and once again leading into both primetime nights. Popular ESPN shows “Get Up,” “First Take,” “This Just In” and “SportsCenter” will also provide ample coverage, including guests joining live from Kansas City, giving fans all-day coverage of the NFL Draft.
A two-hour edition of “NFL Live” (3 p.m.) will originate from inside the NFL Draft theater on Thursday and Friday. The 2023 Sports Emmy-nominated show team of Dan Orlovsky, Ryan Clark, Mina Kimes, Marcus Spears and host Rutledge will be joined by special guests (to be announced in the coming days).
“College GameDay,” ESPN’s premier college football show, will also be live from inside the NFL Draft theater on Thursday (5-7 p.m.) and Friday (5-6 p.m.). Davis will anchor the show alongside McShay, Howard and Pollack. Ponder and Griffin III will also contribute. Leading into day three of the Draft, Rutledge will host a one-hour edition of “College GameDay” (11 a.m.).
Before the Carolina Panthers are officially put on the clock, “NFL Draft Countdown Presented by ZipRecruiter” will air from 7-8 p.m. with ESPN’s main set of commentators. On Friday, “NFL Draft Countdown” will air from 6-7 p.m.
Image courtesy of NFL Media
Extensive Coverage Leads Into NFL Draft
ESPN will have additional information on NFL Draft content throughout the week of the Draft, with full programming details announced in the coming days.