The 2020 NFL Draft took place in a virtual environment on Thursday, Friday and Saturday due to the COVID-19 outbreak. ESPN and NFL Network combined for the primary broadcast on television while host Rich Eisen helmed the NFL Draft-A-Thon fundraiser that was streamed on social media. The change in tradition was jarring for some viewers, but the fundraising campaign was a success considering that it helped the NFL family reach more than $100 million raised for coronavirus relief.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell broke the news following the final pick on Saturday afternoon. He stood proudly in his basement and thanked all of the NFL teams and the fans for their donations. The various teams and players have been striving to provide relief in their markets during the outbreak, but the fan donations provided another $6.6 million for the relief efforts. The league was provided with the opportunity to make a massive donation.
Thank you for participating in Draft-A-Thon! With the addition of your donations, the NFL Family has now collectively raised more than $100,000,000 for COVID-19 Relief. https://t.co/t5JVKzjd4J pic.twitter.com/8sw0v4ZmWt— NFL (@NFL) April 25, 2020
"We wanted to make a difference by honoring and supporting those impacted by this pandemic, especially those on the front lines," Goodell said. "I'm thrilled to share with you that thanks to your generous contributions and those of the NFL family, more than $100 million has been raised for COVID-19 relief. That is fantastic. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you."
The money raised during the NFL Draft-A-Thon will be donated to several organizations that have been fighting the pandemic. This includes the Salvation Army, American Red Cross, Meals on Wheels, United Way, Feeding America and the CDC Foundation. Additionally, the NFL will be auctioning off autographed memorabilia to continue raising money for the relief efforts.
The 2020 NFL Draft was a vastly different experience than previous seasons, but the viewers still tuned in for all three days of selections. According to NFL Media, an average audience of over 8.4 million viewers watched the three-day event. This was a 35 percent increase over the 2019 NFL Draft.
The streamed Draft-A-Thon, on the other hand, boasted an average of over 5.4 million total daily viewers. The fans tuned in to watch Eisen chat with Tom Brady, Travis Kelce and a multitude of other popular figures throughout the NFL Draft. These viewers also opened their wallets and donated even more money to the coronavirus relief efforts.