Despite the move away from the Las Vegas Strip to a fully virtual setup, the 2020 NFL Draft was nothing short of a success, breaking records to become the most-watched draft in NFL history. More than 55 million viewers watched the three-day event and there was an 11% increase in live-draft content posted in comparison to 2019.
Teams hosted sponsored watch parties across social media and on YouTube TV, creating spaces for fans to interact and get updates on every move made. Sponsors embraced parties as a way to re-engage with fans and capitalize on the excitement and exposure of the Draft.
Bud Light led the way as the presenting sponsor in six total virtual draft parties, four of which featured their new Bud Light Seltzer product. The Carolina Panthers’ Draft Lounge: Home Edition, presented by Bud Light Seltzer, did a sports crossover with Steph Curry during their live coverage, enticing fans to tune in and hear what the Golden State Warriors star, and lifelong Panthers fan, thought about the team’s picks. The hour-long interview generated over $7,000 in brand value for Bud Light and was streamed across the Panthers’ Twitter, Facebook and YouTube accounts. Over the course of the event, the Panthers’ Draft Lounge coverage drove a total of $25,000 in brand value for Bud Light.
Social Engagement Connects Brands
With pre-draft events and virtual watch parties taking place across social media channels, social conversations took flight amidst all of the action. The increase in live streams held during this year’s draft allowed for additional social campaigns around the event. Bud Light’s #BooTheCommish Twitter campaign was created to carry on the tradition of “booing” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell before each pick.
The campaign encouraged fans to submit videos of their “boos” on Twitter by tagging the beer and adding #BooTheCommish. NFL teams got in on the action, too, encouraging fans to play along. With 3,400 mentions, posts featuring #BooTheCommish generated $141,000 in brand value for Bud Light.
For those who didn’t have time to sit down and watch several days of draft coverage, being able to pop onto Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram for highlight reels of each round was critical. Most teams opted to share a selection graphics, showcasing the draftee with his new team’s colors or motto.
This was something that the Dallas Cowboys nailed. The team shared selection card graphics for all seven of their draft picks across social accounts throughout the draft with #ItsMillerTime, creating $1.02 million in brand value for Miller Lite throughout the draft.
The San Francisco 49ers took a similar route with their social branding. The team tagged their premier partner, Levi’s, in nearly every draft related social post, including a circular draft “stamp” that featured their logo. By including the brand’s logo in 80% of the team’s draft content, the Niners drove $154,000 in brand value for Levi’s.
Although there were concerns around how the NFL draft would be executed virtually and how it would affect sponsors, it’s safe to say there were a lot of positives. Viewership rose 37% from last year as fans flocked to watch the first live sports event in months. Overall, NFL team accounts created $11.7 million in brand value for team sponsors, making the 2020 NFL Draft one for the ages.