This year's NFL Combine broke record numbers in viewership for the event. A total of 7.25 million viewers watched at some point during the 4 days of coverage with an average audience of 268,000 viewers, up 10% from last year. While other sports are seeing small ratings decreases or remaining flat, the combine is one of the events in the sports year trending upward in ratings, media coverage, and attention from fans.
There was a time the combine was nothing more than a footnote in the football season between the Super Bowl and the draft. After all, who would think people would actually want to sit down in front of their televisions and watch football players doing drills instead of football players playing football? Alas, with the NFL's explosion in popularity over the last decade and the exponential increase in information consumed by sports fans, the combine has resonated with more and more people. A tick on the stopwatch either way could mean one player rising up draft boards or falling to your team.
And there are reportedly plans for the combine to get even bigger. Reports of a "reality show" twist to the combine indicate a future where players may compete during drills. Also, the NFL could follow athletes from regional combines to the national combine in Indianapolis and even on to the NFL Draft for a reality series.
The growth and potential direction of the NFL combine intrigues me, but so does the challenge of making vertical jumps, shuttle runs, and football players in shorts and t-shirts sprinting for less than 5 seconds compelling television. NFL Network devoted several live hours of television to the combine and we were able to chat briefly with NFLN Executive Producer Eric Weinberger about the present and the future of televising the NFL Combine...no comments