April Whitzman

How NFL Teams Engaged Fans on Mobile During the NFL Draft

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

The NFL Draft is an exciting time for teams, players, and fans. As a result, teams have had to find new and innovative ways to keep their fans informed about the top prospects joining their team. Among the various digital platforms, team’s mobile apps stood out as the hub for innovation and creativity, with a tremendous amount of engagement.

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 Rover & a headless CMS.
  • During the Draft, another team used Rover 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

Numerous teams, such as the Denver Broncos, Buffalo Bills, Green Bay Packers, and Las Vegas Raiders, directed users to incredible Draft Hub experiences. These hubs provided fans with all the necessary information leading up to the Draft. They were continuously updated in real-time during the Draft, and also received a substantial amount of content after the Draft.

As a great example, the Washington Commanders used Rover to create a Draft Hub that encompassed 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. Additionally, fans had opportunities 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. It also provided instantaneous details on their latest picks, including bios, media, and more!

2. Homescreen Takeover & Auto Refresh

Many teams understand the importance of enhancing the fan experience on mobile, and the Atlanta Falcons are among the best in this regard. Their efforts in the NFL Draft app were truly commendable.

Using the Rover Platform, the Falcons transformed the home page of their FanReach app into a comprehensive Draft Hub. It featured innovative UX designs and content.

At the top of the mobile experience, there was a horizontal scroll container that allowed fans to swipe through each of the picks. The layout also updated in real-time, displaying new player images and information as the picks were made.

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 Rover, 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 Rover’s platform for future campaigns and initiatives in the near-future.

Austin Klubenspies
UI/UX Manager, Atlanta Falcons

3. Draft Recaps

It was impressive to see the number of NFL teams that promptly created draft recaps not only for the overall event, but also for each day and pick. Several teams, such as the San Francisco 49ers, Kansas City Chiefs, and Baltimore Ravens, stood out with their innovative recaps. Each recap provided distinctive introductions to the latest picks and included a variety of photos, videos, and other media.

One of the teams that excelled in this area was the Detroit Lions. They utilized their app to engage fans through a variety of recap-style mobile campaigns. The team used Rover to create a draft recap hub that showcased each draft pick, along with corresponding screens for each player. These screens not only provided fans with a valuable first look at the newest Lion, but they were also brilliantly designed to reinforce the team's brand.

By leveraging the Rover platform, the Lions were able to create a template and seamlessly incorporate the same images used on their social channels into the mobile experiences.

The Lions went a step further by creating a mobile campaign aimed at visually introducing their first-round pick. They developed a story-style experience that showcased Aidan Hutchison's initial visit to Detroit and his tour of the Lions training facility in Allen Park. This provided a behind-the-scenes glimpse of a player that is seldom seen on mobile platforms.

4. Draft Trivia

It is widely acknowledged that trivia is one of the most engaging campaigns organizations can create for their fans. Several NFL teams, including the Los Angeles Rams, Carolina Panthers, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, recognized this and introduced fun and engaging trivia to their mobile apps.

One team that particularly excelled in this area was the Tennessee Titans, who created a sponsored trivia game with great success.

Presented by Westley Mortgage, the interactive trivia was designed to serve as an introduction to the upcoming draft. Fans were asked questions about former first-round picks, the school that has produced the most Titans draftees, and other related topics. The trivia concluded by inviting fans to visit the Draft Hub and highlighting the local event, DraftFest 2022, taking place 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. According to ESPN, people talk more about the draft than NFL games, and mock drafts are a popular way for fans to discuss the draft.

Teams like the Indianapolis Colts, New England Patriots, and Minnesota Vikings regularly post mock draft roundups to generate excitement among fans about potential players joining their team. However, the Houston Texans have created the most elaborate and innovative experience of them all.

The Texans used the Rover platform to promote their top 100 prospect ranking from John Harris. The most impressive aspect of this mobile campaign? All player data and images were dynamically pulled in, thanks to Rover's capability 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 Rover Mac app to connect this experience to Contentful’s GraphQL API.


The NFL Draft is a highly time-sensitive period for fans, teams, players, and prospects. Server-Driven UI, a concept we have discussed extensively, focuses on instantly publishing new mobile experiences to fans, rather than relying on the traditional app process:

Traditional Approach:

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

With Rover:

design / publish experience / experience live-updates

Many teams have successfully utilized the Rover platform to create incredible no-code live changing experiences, fostering a strong sense of connection between fans and their teams. We are excited to see what our customers will achieve next.