The NFL has had preliminary discussions about moving the first round of the draft into prime time, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported last week. Yet as far back as the first day of the draft, on April 28, commissioner
indicated to the NFL Network that a change could be coming.
"There are talks of moving it around the country," Goodell said in a transcript provided by the NFL. "There are talks of moving it into prime time. We've been talking about how we can bring more football to more fans."
There's just one question: How many more fans would watch the draft in prime time as opposed to on a Saturday afternoon?
According to the NFL and Nielsen Media Research, the draft reached 37,980,000 viewers with its two-day coverage on ESPN, ESPN2 and the NFL Network.
Saturday has become almost a football holiday for draftniks. Would having the first round on a Friday night result in a bigger audience? This is one instance where a Saturday seems better suited than a Friday evening.
This year's first round, in which each team had 15 minutes to make a selection, took a record 6 hours, 8 minutes. A lot of viewers would be snoozing before all 32 first-round picks were made on a Friday night.
One thing is for sure: The NFL always will look into maximizing viewers for a popular product.
Here are the rising numbers for total draft viewership from 2001 to 2006, according to the NFL and Nielsen Media Research: 2001, 23,547,000; 2002, 25,521,000; 2003, 28,990,000; 2004, 31,402,000; 2005, 34,400,000; and 2006, 36,336,000.
The Phillies remain popular with the networks. For the second week in a row, they will be on Fox's
Game of the Week.
Fox will show tomorrow's 3:55 p.m. game between the Phillies and the Chicago Cubs.
Kenny Albert and Tim McCarver will be in the booth, with Ken Rosenthal as the reporter.
HBO will televise
Floyd Mayweather Jr.'s
split decision over
Oscar De La Hoya
at 10 p.m. tomorrow.
The junior-middleweight fight was carried live Saturday on HBO's pay-per-view.