NFL Draft Hits Madison Avenue

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Media buyers will be meeting with the National Football League, and instead of buying commercials, they’ll be picking players.

For about four years, the NFL has been hosting a special fantasy league for Madison Avenue and this season’s draft is being held Thursday night at the Edison Ballroom in New York. About 16 agencies are expected to participate in the first eight rounds, according to Keith Turner, senior VP for Media Sales & Sponsorship for the league.

 This year promises to be special because this year the league is introducing its own online fantasy game, the only one it says will feature NFL video that will enable team owners to see their players complete passes and score touchdowns.

“The revenues that we’ve been able to generate by having our own fantasy game . . . it’s been a great success,” Turner says.

The prize for the winning agency is to play a flag football game against the NFL’s sales staff. And the league helps out by providing the media mavens with a ringer.

Last season’s winner was Carat, which got to add former New York Giant Jesse Palmer to its roster, while the sales team added Troy Vincent, who played for the Miami Dolphins, Philadelphia Eagles, Buffalo Bills and Washington Redskins.

“They spanked us pretty good,” Turner says. “They had Jesse Palmer as their quarterback and the media team had me as their quarterback, so maybe it wasn’t a fair fight.”