Announcement below. Some skepticism here: I suspect it won't be able to end at the scheduled time, since the announcement had an asterisked note saying "end times approximate." And pushing it into prime, as well as on a school night, takes away yet another opportunity for families to bond. ("Daddy, why does picking that running back with a history of felony arrests make our team's management a bunch of flippin' hoseheads?") Not to mention that it will now be airing opposite some shows that people want to watch. (Hello! Thursday night!)
I would much rather it be in prime time on Saturday (when it will now end at 6 p.m.), and with the first round. There's seldom much new to watch on a Saturday night. And moving it out of daytime takes away my need to come up with a list of "chores" that need to be done indoors, where I can keep an eye on the draft, instead of outside.
Anyway, here's the announcement:
The NFL Draft will kick off in prime time for the first time in 2010, it was announced today. The first round of the 2010 NFL Draft will start on Thursday, April 22 at 7:30 PM ET with the second and third rounds on Friday, April 23 at 6:30 PM ET followed by rounds 4-7 on Saturday, April 24 at 10:00 AM ET. The draft will continue to be televised by ESPN and NFL Network. The 2010 NFL Draft – the 75th draft in NFL history – will again be held at Radio City Music Hall in New York.
“We continue to look for ways to make the draft more accessible to more fans,” said Commissioner ROGER GOODELL. “Moving the first round to prime time on Thursday night will make the first round of the draft available to fans on what is typically the most-watched night of television.”
The 2009 NFL Draft (Saturday, April 25-Sunday, April 26) drew a record 39 million viewers on NFL Network, ESPN and ESPN2. Total NFL Draft viewership increased 66 percent from 2001 to 2009 (from 23.5 million to 39 million).
The first round of last year’s draft on ESPN and NFL Network drew a combined average of 6.3 million viewers, topping all basketball, hockey and baseball games that weekend.
The NFL Draft was a Saturday-Sunday event from 1995-2009. It took place on Sunday-Monday from 1988-94 and prior to 1988 was held on one or two weekdays.
Following is a date and time breakdown of the 2010 NFL Draft:
Round 1: Thursday, April 22, 7:30 to 11 p.m. ET.
Rounds 2-3: Friday, April 23, 6:30 to 11 p.m. ET.
Rounds 4-7: Saturday, April 24, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET.