How NFL Teams Engaged Fans on Mobile During the 2022 NFL Draft 

May 3, 2022

Auto-refreshing Picks, Incredible Designs, Homescreen Takeovers & More

The NFL Draft is always an exciting time for teams, players, and of course, the fans. Because of this, teams have needed to continue finding new and innovative ways to keep their fans up-to-date on the top prospects set to join their team.

Despite the tremendous amount of interaction and posts on digital, nowhere did we see more innovation and creativity than directly in team’s mobile apps.

Some highlights include:

  • Leading up to the Draft, one team gave fans a chance to browse their mock draft picks in a fully native experience; powered by Judo & a headless CMS.
  • During the Draft, another team used a brand new Judo feature to create a Draft Hub UI that updated instantly before their fans’ eyes once a new pick was made—all using no code!

Here are five of the many creative campaigns teams created on their mobile apps to promote the NFL Draft.

1. Draft Hubs

This year, countless teams including the Denver Broncos, Buffalo Bills, Green Bay Packers and Las Vegas Raiders, directed users to amazing Draft Hub experiences. These hubs featured everything fans would need to know about ahead of the Draft. They were also updated during the Draft in real-time, and received a ton of content post Draft, too.

As a great example, the Washington Commanders used Judo to create a Draft Hub that encapsulated everything their fans needed to get excited for the Draft. Some of our favorite elements included a Coverage Schedule, which provided fans with an up-to-date timing of the biggest moments from the Draft, as well as opportunities for fans to buy tickets and play draft-related games. 

The most intuitive section, however, was their Draft Tracker, which highlighted the draft picks live by round, and also provided instantaneous details on their latest pics, including bios, media, and so much more! 

2. Homescreen Takeover & Auto Refresh

There are a lot of teams that “get it” when it comes to highlighting the fan experience on mobile, and few teams do it better than the Atlanta Falcons. Their work in their app for the NFL Draft was certainly no different.

Utilizing the Judo Platform, the Falcons transformed the home page of their FanReach app into a complete Draft Hub, complete with the most innovative UX designs and content. 

A horizontal scroll container at the top of the mobile experience let fans swipe-through each of the picks—the layout even updated in real-time to include new player images & info as the picks came in.

The UI also included a draft ticker at the top featuring:

  • Circles that instantly changed from gray to Falcons red when the Falcons made each pick
  • The current round & pick number, including the team logo for the team that’s up—all live-updating
  • A countdown timer to the beginning of the next draft day

The team utilized multiple APIs to automatically include draft pick values direct from the league, draftee player images, draft content and articles, as well as all of the merch and shop items fans would need (including Drake London jerseys, the minute he was drafted!).

In preparation for the NFL Draft, our goal was to provide a more personalized and engaging experience to our fans. In partnership with Judo, we were able to deliver a complex, multi-state, data-driven user interface that well surpassed industry standards, all the while ensuring a great second-screen user experience for our target audience.

Most importantly, with our ability to tap into various NFL and Contentful APIs, our content was automated and instantaneously updated, thus yielding a real-time experience within our app.

All in all, as a result of both the unique experience we were able to craft and the user engagement and feedback we received, we plan to continue to utilize Judo’s platform for future campaigns and initiatives in the near-future.

Austin Klubenspies – UI/UX Manager, Atlanta Falcons

3. Draft Recaps

It was amazing seeing the number of NFL teams that created timely draft recaps of not only the event as a whole, but with each day and with each pick. There were many teams that created innovative recaps including the San Francisco 49ers, the Kansas City Chiefs, and the Baltimore Ravens. Each experience included unique intros to the latest picks as well as a variety of photos, videos, and other media.

One of the teams that did it the best, was the Detroit Lions, who turned to their app to engage their fans with a variety of recap-style mobile campaigns. Using Judo, their draft recap hub featured a list of each draft pick the team made, with accompanying screens to each player. Not only were these screens valuable to the fans as it gave an incredible first look at the newest Lion, but they were also designed brilliantly to brand and intuitively as the team was able to build a template with the Judo platform and automatically insert the same images they were using on their social channels in the mobile experiences as well. 

The Lions also took it one step further creating a mobile campaign designed to visually introduce their first-round pick. They created a story-style experience designed to highlight Aidan Hutchison’s first visit to Detroit and his look around the Lions training facility in Allen Park, providing a behind-the-scenes look at a player rarely seen on mobile.

4. Draft Trivia

It goes without saying that trivia is one of the most engaging campaigns that organizations can create for their fans. The Los Angeles Rams, Carolina Panthers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers were a few of the NFL teams that recognized this, bringing fun and engaging trivia to their mobile app.

One of the teams that found the most success with their trivia were the Tennessee Titans, who created a sponsored trivia.

Presented by their Draft Sponsor in Westley Mortgage, the interactive trivia was meant as a primer for the upcoming draft, asking fans questions about former first round picks, which school has produced the most Titans draftees, and so much more. The end of the trivia also provided fans with the opportunity to visit their Draft Hub, and also showcased their DraftFest 2022 happening locally at Nissan Stadium.

5. Draft Mockups & Prospect Rankings

NFL fans are constantly looking at draft mockups, trying to figure out which new draftee will join their team. In fact, ESPN indicates that people talk more about the draft than NFL games, and for many people, how they talk about the draft is through mock drafts.

Teams like the Indianapolis Colts, New England Patriots, and Minnesota Vikings, posted regular mock draft roundups to get fans excited about potential players that could join their team.

No team, however, created as elaborative and innovative an experience than the Houston Texans.


Using the Judo platform, the Texans’ promoted their top 100 prospect ranking from John Harris.
The coolest thing about this mobile campaign? All of the player data and images were pulled in dynamically thanks to Judo’s ability to connect mobile designs to data sources.

The Texans managed all the player info and media using Contentful’s headless CMS, and then used the Judo Mac app to connect this experience to Contentful’s GraphQL API.

Overall

The NFL Draft is one of the most time-sensitive periods for fans, teams, players & prospects.

Server-Driven UI (a concept you might’ve heard us talking about a lot) is all about publishing new mobile experiences to fans instantly instead of becoming victim of the traditional app process: 

Traditional Approach:

design / development / testing / submit to app store / user updates app

With Judo:

design / publish experience / experience live-updates

Many teams were able to use the Judo platform to accomplish incredible no-code live changing experiences creating a strong feeling of connectedness between fans and their teams. We can’t wait to see what our customers do next.


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