What year was the NFL Draft first televised?

Let's take a look back at the humble beginnings of the NFL Draft as a media event.
Texas Rangers v Detroit Tigers
Texas Rangers v Detroit Tigers / Mark Cunningham/GettyImages

At this point, the NFL Draft is as exciting for the average fan as the actual games themselves but it wasn't always that way. The yearly cycle of analysis and mock drafts partnered with the drama of college football has created an industry out of the draft itself.

The NFL Draft goes back to 1936 yet it wasn't until 1980 that the draft made a big jump to television. Before then, fans relied on radio and newspapers to keep up with their teams' picks.

In 1980, ESPN took a bold step by airing the NFL Draft for the first time. This move not only changed how fans experienced the draft but also marked a turning point in the league's popularity. Suddenly, football fans across the nation could watch teams select their future stars from home.

Let's take a look back at the humble beginnings of the NFL Draft as a media event.

The first televised draft in 1980 was simpler compared to today's glitzy spectacle. However, it set the stage for what would become a highly anticipated yearly event. Over time, draft coverage evolved with live broadcasts, expert analysis, and behind-the-scenes access.

Today, the NFL Draft is a multi-day event, drawing millions of viewers who tune in to see the next generation of football talent find their NFL teams. From radio days to primetime TV, the NFL Draft has transformed into a cultural event that brings fans together each spring in excitement and anticipation. And now the NFL has turned the live event into a three-day, family-friendly event that generates significantly more attention and local interest wherever it lands.

With its growth, the draft has become a prime opportunity for teams to build their future, and for fans to glimpse the potential stars of tomorrow. As the league evolves, so too does the spectacle of the draft, making it an even bigger highlight on the NFL calendar.