NFL Draft Round One Drives Success on Social Going Virtual

With the first football-related event since the NFL Combine and the Super Bowl, and also one of the first traditional events in sports that we’ve had during the COVID-19 pandemic, fans were more than ready Thursday night for the 2020 NFL Draft. Top picking teams are on the hunt for the player who can turn the franchise back around, while teams with later picks are looking for the next star to hopefully start the next run of championships, and no matter the team’s position, fans are always ready.
What goes together with the draft is a lot of social activity, including reports from media sources, draft night advertisements from players, teams, and brands alike, and a lot of fan reactions. Using the Zoomph platform, we tracked the weeks of activity leading up to draft night and into what was a huge night on social this year and are highlighting which players, teams, and brands led the night, and how they made it happen.

Top Players

As you’d suspect, a lot of the conversation on draft night is about the players, both leading up to the draft and throughout the night as they are getting picked. There’s plenty of influence on how much players are getting talked about individually, including what pick they are, what team they go to, and maybe some stories the broadcast tells about the player.
Last night’s top player was none other than the first overall pick by the Cincinnati Bengals, Joe Burrow. Burrow was mentioned in over 11K organic posts on draft day, which generated a social value of over $2.4 million. While a lot of this was hype around being the first pick, Burrow also generated some of this himself with sponsored tweets, including the one below for Buffalo Wild Wings.

Among the other top players during the night was WR CeeDee Lamb, CB Jeffrey Okudah, QB Tua Tagovailoa, and OT Jedrick Wills.

Top Teams

Draft night is a big night for teams on social, as their fans are excited for content from their team that they’ve been missing for the past two or more months. While social metrics can be influenced by the following size a team has, it’s always good to see how that engagement is being generated.
Among the top teams last night were the Dallas Cowboys, the Philadelphia Eagles, the Denver Broncos, the Green Bay Packers, and the Miami Dolphins. The Broncos were able to stir up engagement last night by going all-in on their first-round pick, Jerry Jeudy, and sharing content around him. Outside of the obvious share of the pick, the Broncos shared video reactions from current players Von Miller and Bradley Chubb, as well as videos of Jeudy doing the “Tootsie Slide” alongside of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. This was outside of the box content that really started a train of engagement throughout the night around one pick.

Top Brands

Not only is draft night a big night for teams and players, it’s a chance for brands to get engaged on social and get their logo in front of the millions of people watching the draft. Through tv and digital activations with the league, teams, and players, brands can get a ton of social exposure and value generation.
Of all the brands activating last night, Bose led the charge through the partnership with the NFL and supply draftees with a pair of headphones to wear during the draft. This activation generated over $889.9K for Bose, nearly $300K more than the next sponsor in social value.

Another brand that showed up unexpectedly was Miller Lite, who is not a league partner. However, Miller Lite activated with teams, like the Dallas Cowboys, to sponsor their social posts during the draft to generate value and exposure that way. Throughout draft day, Miller Lite drew 24.9 million impressions collectively on all social channels.


We expect to see a lot more excitement during the draft throughout the next few rounds that is sure to bring a few more surprises to social media. Throughout the draft, we will be continuing to track real-time data around the league, teams, and players, and report on all the insights we find.