Once an obscure, bureaucratic ritual involving a conference room full of league officials, the draft has mushroomed into a pop culture event drawing millions of live TV viewers. Long held at New York’s Radio City Music Hall, the draft has adopted a rotating schedule with large outdoor venues hosting it in various cities.
Kevin Costner and Jennifer Garner starred in a 2014 scripted film, Draft Day, in the same milieu.
The new documentary will focus on the three days of the draft and plans call for an annual edition to be produced. It will be designated as a Roku Original, from Skydance Sports and produced by NFL Films for the Roku Channel, a hub for free, ad-supported content wit reach to an estimated 100 million U.S. households.
NFL Films cameras have been given access to the draft rooms where league teams must make choices that define their upcoming seasons and change the lives of players, families and fans.
The kickoff to the doc series was shot at the 2023 NFL Draft weekend last month in Kansas City, MO. It takes viewers behind the scenes to player green rooms and headquarters for several teams, with reporters, broadcast talent, and league figures including NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell appearing. The four featured teams are the Carolina Panthers, who selected Bryce Young with the first pick of the draft; the Indianapolis Colts, who chose fellow quarterback Anthony Richardson with the fourth pick of the first round; the Dallas Cowboys, whose selection of running back Deuce Vaughn – the son of longtime team scout Chris Vaughn – in the sixth round became one of the draft’s most memorable moments; and the Jacksonville Jaguars, one of the league’s most active teams on the third and final day of a historically frenetic draft that featured the most trades of any in NFL history.
In addition to bringing viewers the brand-new documentary, The Roku Channel has also added The NFL Channel to its Live TV Guide. The 24/7 channel offers no live games, but curated, official programming from NFL Films and NFL Media, including classic game replays, documentaries and originals.
Executive producers of the Roku project for NFL Films are Ross Ketover, Pat Kelleher, and Keith Cossrow, and executive producers for Skydance Sports are David Ellison, Jesse Sisgold, and Jon Weinbach. Producers are Erik Powers and Pat Harris of NFL Films, and Dan Marks and Lauren Gaffney for Skydance Sports.
Brian Tannenbaum, Head of Originals, Roku Media, called it “an honor to partner with NFL Films and Skydance Sports to give our streamers first-time, unprecedented access to the excitement, anticipation, and emotion of the NFL Draft.”
Ketover said the project “fulfills our longstanding dream of taking audiences inside one of the most special and consequential events on the sports calendar.” Skydance Sports President Jon Weinbach added, “The NFL Draft is one of the great American spectacles and such a singular setting for documentary storytelling. This is a fantastic project, and we’re enormously excited about bringing fans and viewers into the NFL’s most sacred spaces on one of the most anticipated days in sports. With our great partners at NFL Films, we’re thrilled to create the first of many premium sports programs for Roku’s massive audience.”
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