While ESPN and the NFL Network have competed fiercely over the years for NFL draft viewers, the two networks have abided by a gentleman's agreement not to give away picks in advance on Twitter and others social media services during the opening round.
“We want to keep the suspense of the draft,” said ESPN senior coordinating producer Seth Markman, ESPN’s lead executive for the event, told SI.com this April. “This is purely listening to the viewers and what they want. It was overwhelming that our consumers, our viewers, our fans do not want us to spoil the draft experience.”
The NBA draft, of course, has no such television competition. ESPN will exclusively air the NBA draft tonight at 7 p.m. ET, the 13th consecutive year the network has hosted the event. But ESPN has a different approach to the draft regarding the social media use of its talent. The on-air talent who are part of the telecast—host Rece Davis, analysts Jay Bilas, Jalen Rose, Jay Williams, front office analyst Tom Penn, international expert Fran Fraschilla, and reporters Heather Cox, Andy Katz and Jeff Goodman and Shannon Spake—will not be tweeting out selections prior to the announcement from the podium. That edict does not apply to all other ESPN NBA reporters, according to a network spokesperson. On the subject of the main set broadcasters not tweeting, ESPN coordinating producer Jay Levy said, “We're committed to providing the best live experience possible for our viewers. We don't want to spoil the suspense of the event.”
Levy said that ESPN works closely with the NBA on all matters pertaining to ESPN telecasts, including for the NBA draft, so it’s clear that the league signed off on the hybrid approach to social media. This should make for an interesting draft night given an annual subplot for sports media watchers is the intense competition between Yahoo! Sports insider Adrian Wojnarowski and the armada of ESPN NBA reporters regarding who gets the pick out first on Twitter (Yes, it ultimately doesn’t mean much except for ego and bragging rights). As Kevin Draper of Deadspin chronicled last year, Wojnarowski was first out of the gate for much of the first round.