The 2021 NFL Draft is upon us and will be taking place from Thursday, April 29th through Saturday, May 1st. One of the most exciting weekends of the entire sports calendar and by far the highlight of the NFL offseason, the draft is a must-watch for fans. So, here’s how to watch the NFL Draft in the UK in 2021.
What is the NFL Draft? When does it take place?
The NFL Draft takes place over three days, with the first round on Thursday (29/4), rounds 2 and 3 on Friday (30/4) and then rounds 4-7 on Saturday (01/5). The first round is by far the most exciting and all NFL fans should tune in. The first round starts at 1am BST, in the early hours of Friday morning.
Bigger fans, or just people missing football, can watch the second and third rounds from midnight on Friday night into Saturday morning. Rounds 4-7 take place at a much more UK-friendly time, starting at 5PM BST on Saturday.
I enjoy watching the draft every year and watch the whole thing, but for people newer to the sport or the draft itself, I recommend watching the first three rounds at least.
Where and how to watch the NFL Draft in the UK
Sky Sports and NowTV
The easiest way to watch the NFL Draft if you’re a British sports fan will very likely be to watch it through your existing TV package. For fans who have Sky Sports, on April 26th, Sky Sports Action is going to be replaced by Sky Sports NFL. This channel will have coverage of the draft before, during and after, and will be the channel to watch. Most people will be able to easily watch all the coverage they want this way.
If you don’t have Sky Sports on your TV package, it costs £25 a month to add all 8 channels on an 18-month contract. However, you can also buy short-term packages through NowTV.
NowTV offers a £9.99 Sky Sports day pass which gives you exactly 24 hours from the time you start watching. There used to be a week-pass but unfortunately, it is not currently available. If you want a temporary Sky Sports pass the way to go would be to buy two day memberships and use them starting between midnight and 1AM on Thursday night. This would cover you for the full three days of the draft for £19.98.
Whether you have Sky Sports or a NowTV pass, there are options for watching on TV’s, Smart TV’s, desktop or mobile. Look into these and decide what is best for you.
NFL Game Pass
If you are a big NFL fan, you might already have NFL Game Pass but not realise that your subscription runs through the offseason. Game Pass, therefore, has coverage of the entire NFL Draft. The coverage will be available by watching NFL Network, or there will be the American television coverage available as if selecting to watch a game.
If you have Game Pass it is definitely the best and easiest way to watch.
If you don’t have Game Pass but you’re a big NFL fan I highly recommend buying it. You can get a taste of it right now in the offseason, as the 2020 year expires soon (July 31st). Due to the timing, you can get a very affordable price. A Pro membership costs £14.99 and will give you full access to Game Pass until the end of July. This allows you to watch the NFL Draft Live and more. You can watch every game from 2020 as well as NFL Originals and Programmes and NFL Network Live.
There is also a special offer for the end of the year where you can sign up for a free offseason subscription which gives you the same things, except you can’t watch live. You still get the 2021 NFL Draft coverage, but on-demand, not in real-time.
I strongly recommend NFL Game Pass and if you don’t have it, £14.99 is the cheapest way to watch the full draft live – plus you get a lot of cool other content on top. In 2020, they actually offered a draft-specific package on the week of the draft, but that is not currently in place. If that pops up you might be able to watch cheaper but without the additional Game Pass content.
Social Media and Draft Trackers
You might be confused by this one, but it depends on how you define ‘watch’. Obviously, if you want to sit back and watch the draft on TV or your computer, the first two entries are for you. However, if it’s a case of just keeping up with what’s going on and who drafted who, you can do it for free.
I can assure you, sitting on social media will keep you up to date and then some, with some picks even hitting your feed before the TV coverage [pro tip: don’t go on Twitter when you’re waiting for the next pick]. Obviously, you miss out on the full broadcast package, but for a more casual fan or someone who is busy during the draft, you can easily keep up with it through social media.
I would recommend Twitter as the fastest and most informative way of keeping up. Follow NFL insiders like Ian Rapoport and Adam Schefter and turn notifications on, boom. You’re now following every single pick in real-time for free.
There will also be numerous websites set up to track the draft in real-time, with most major sports media outlets and the NFL themselves. If you Google ‘NFL draft tracker’ you will have your pick of the bunch. It will be less exciting than watching on TV and I’d recommending watching live if you can, but keeping track for free on your phone or computer is a great option, too.
Conclusion: Best options to watch 2021 NFL Draft
My personal recommendation for someone who doesn’t already have either Sky Sports or Game Pass is to buy the rest-of-year Pro package on NFL Game Pass.
It is affordable and will give you access to much more content than just the draft all the way through July.
I’ve told you how to watch the NFL Draft, now it’s time to start researching who you want your team to pick! Enjoy.