The NFL is roping Fox and ABC into a new broadcast arrangement for coverage of the 2018 NFL Draft.
Under the terms of the new deal, the NFL Network and Fox will simulcast live coverage of rounds 1-3 of the 2018 NFL Draft, and ESPN2 will supplement ESPN's coverage of round 1 with a separate college-themed production. In addition, ESPN's live coverage of rounds 4-7 will air on ABC.
The 2018 NFL Draft takes place Thursday, April 26 through Saturday, April 28.
The expanded coverage gives the NFL Draft its largest audience reach ever, and marks the first time ever that the entirety of the live three-day event will air on broadcast television.
"The NFL Draft is a unique event on the NFL calendar where the promise and excitement of the future is universally felt among fans, players and clubs," said Brian Rolapp, chief media and business officer for the NFL, in a statement. "Fan interest in the NFL Draft grows year after year, and we are excited for the opportunity to meet that demand with expanded draft coverage including a record six television networks, while deepening the relationship with our trusted broadcast partners ESPN and Fox."
"The opportunity for Fox to help shape the stories that are told around such an energetic and optimistic time for NFL fans is definitely a place we want to be," said Mark Silverman, president of Fox Sports National Networks, in a statement. "Using Troy and Joel, two of the best analysts in the business, serves the NFL Draft audience in a new and fresh way."
The confirmed expansion of NFL Draft coverage comes as somewhat of a blow to the League’s relationship with ESPN, which pays $1.9 billion per year for rights to Monday Night Football.
According to Sports Business Daily, ESPN executives are reportedly miffed that the NFL is working with Fox on NFL Draft coverage after ESPN had worked for decades to raise the profile of the annual event. ESPN is also mad that the NFL might take away its Wild Card round playoff game.
Livestreaming of the 2018 NFL Draft will also be available through the NFL app and NFL.com.