PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The National Football League has informed teams it will do a virtual draft this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Every team must conduct their draft entirely outside of their facilities with club personnel in separate locations and able to communicate by phone or internet. Teams may not gather at one person’s home during the process.
Now official: NFL now has informed teams it will do a virtual draft this year. GMs and HCs now will be drafting from their homes. pic.twitter.com/t2mbdjWvVZ
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) April 6, 2020
The League office sent a memo to every team on Monday informing them of the news: “Given current and expected conditions, and to ensure that we operate responsibly and in full compliance with current regulations, both League and Club facilities will remain closed indefinitely.”
The memo does not state when the League expects facilities to reopen but they will do so “when it is safe based on medical and public health advice, and in compliance with government mandates.”
ESPN began televising the NFL Draft in 1980 and ratings have skyrocketed over the years, becoming must-watch television for diehard football fans. It will be interesting to see how the virtual draft will impact the draft process as well as television ratings.
ESPN and NFL Network will continue to broadcast the event, as originally planned, on April 23 through 25.