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How to Watch the 2017 NFL Draft on TV and Streaming Online

The start of the next NFL season is a little over four months away, but it’s not too soon for diehard football fans to start dreaming about the future. When the 2017 NFL Draft kicks off tonight in Philadelphia at 8 p.m. ET, many of those fans will be watching closely and hoping that their favorite team drafts the league’s next superstar.

As always, there are multiple ways for fans to follow along as NFL teams make their selections, starting with coverage of the draft’s first round on Thursday. Viewers with cable subscriptions—or, in certain cases, a live-TV streaming subscription—can watch the draft live on the NFL Network and ESPN starting at 8 p.m. ET, though both networks will be providing plenty of pre-draft overage during the day leading up to the main event. Those networks will also air the rest of the draft in full, with the second and third rounds airing live on Friday, starting at 7 p.m. ET. Rounds 4-7 will start at noon on Saturday.

In addition to watching those networks’ draft coverage through a live-TV streaming provider such as SlingTV or Sony’s Playstation Vue, football fans with cable subscriptions can also watch a live-stream of this year’s draft online with ESPN’s WatchESPN app. Fans with subscriptions to the NFL Network can watch on the league’s website, or the NFL Now app on various connected devices, while Verizon users will be able to stream the draft on their mobile devices for free through the NFL Mobile app.

Fans can also use social media to keep up with the draft. While the NFL Network and ESPN have promised that staffers will not announce draft selections on social media before they are officially announced on the draft stage in Philadelphia, the networks’ official Twitter accounts, and the NFL’s official account, will likely be churning out posts with information on teams’ selections.

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Meanwhile, longtime ESPN viewers will notice a big change to the Walt Disney-owned sports cable giant’s draft coverage. Trey Wingo will take over hosting duties at ESPN for Chris Berman, who had hosted the network’s draft specials every year since 1987. That move is part of Berman’s reduced role at ESPN, which was announced earlier this year. It is not connected to the decision to lay off roughly 100 on-air personalities and other staffers that the network announced on Wednesday.

The cost-cutting moves, which come amid ongoing subscriber losses that have dragged down ESPN’s advertising revenues, also meant that other football reporters and analysts such as longtime NFL reporter Ed Werder and former player Trent Dilfer would depart the network only a day before the draft.

Last year, ESPN’s coverage of the draft’s first day drew almost 6.3 million viewers, which represented a nearly 11% dip from the previous year. (The NFL Network’s first-day coverage drew 2.04 million viewers in 2016, which was a slight increase from the previous year.) Overall, the cable network’s three-day coverage drew an average of just over 3 million viewers, which was up slightly from 2015.