The bad news is that, in most of the affected areas of the world, the spread of the coronavirus remains uncontained. In some places, such as the United States, we don’t even know the extent to which the virus has already spread, due to the limited amount of testing that has been done to date.
That uncertainty adds another layer of unpredictability about how the future will unfold. But when you are a billion-dollar industry, it serves your best interests in such times to ensure that you have at least worked on some alternative solutions to some of the problems that may arise for your business as a result.
That is what the NFL is currently and has been doing for over a week now as it concerns the 2020 NFL Draft, which is scheduled to launch in Las Vegas on April 23. While that is over a month away, the reality is that we don’t know what the situation is going to look like a month from now. Things could be greatly calmed down, or we could be in a lockdown state.
According to Ian Rapoport, the league has been contemplating over contingency plans that will save the draft as an event, but which may require it to take a very different form, and possibly even to be held at a different venue.
As of now, the draft is still scheduled to go on, still in Las Vegas. There have been no changes of any kind to that, which is currently scheduled. However, what the league has done, not just today, but over the last several days, more than a week, is go over some contingency plans. So, yes, the draft is scheduled to go on, but in what actual form is certainly a question. Will there be fans there? Will it be a big-time return to sports moment for the NFL if the nation gets over the virus in that time? Or will there be no fans? Will it be in a different location? Potentially, will it be conducted by conference call? All of these things are options. Still a long time away, but the NFL is trying to get a handle on and figure out which direction to go.
It wasn’t always the case that the draft was a major televised event. Players didn’t always attend the draft and walk across the stage like they’re graduating. It used to be that they would find out by the team calling them up the day after they selected them, or even reading it in the newspaper.
Make no mistake, it’s entirely possible to do the draft via a conference call. It won’t be as exciting, and there may be some logistical complications for teams, but if the alternative is no draft at all, I think it’s obvious which choice will be made.