Live from the NFL Draft-KFC, Fans and Internet Trouble (oh, and football)

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New York- The 2008 NFL Draft is well under way. Here in Radio City Music Hall the NFL Network and ESPN have erected sets where fans would normally be paying big bucks to see the Christmas Spectacular. Both channels are on two extremely large screens above either side of the stage, fans and reporters alike have portable radios allowing them to listen to the feeds from the channels.

Oh, and the fans? They are going crazy. The Jets and Giants supporters rule the room, exemplified by the enormous cheers anytime either team is mentioned, and the boos directed at the New England Patriots and their fans who made the trek to enemy territory. The Philadelphia Eagles also have a strong showing.

A few notes from my time here:

Chris Berman was at the ESPN desk eating while his colleagues were talking to the camera literally right next to him. I guess he tried to get in his lunch in the precious few seconds he was not on camera. This drew snickers from some nearby fans. I don’t know what he was eating, but there is a KFC box on the ESPN set behind the desk (see photo below)

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There are dozens of reporters and league officals here with their laptops (myself included), the league set up a dedicated WiFi network for the draft, but it was quickly overloaded, resulting in serious internet trouble for many users (again, myself included). The folks at NFL.com and other league officials hooked up their computers to Ethernet cables, the rest of us saps had to wait until a second network was set up, which didn’t work until about 4:30. Not cool.

I had a chance to speak to Charles Coplin, NFL Network VP of programming; I will post my interview with him soon.

(My apologies for the quality of the photos, this is what happens when your camera battery dies and you have to use your cell phone.)

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