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Published April 25, 2013, 10:05 PM

NFL Draft shows shift of America’s Game

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - Around 40 million people are going to be tuning into a show tonight, tomorrow and Saturday. That, 30 years ago, was an unforeseen phenomenon.

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - Around 40 million people are going to be tuning into a show tonight, tomorrow and Saturday. That, 30 years ago, was an unforeseen phenomenon.

The NFL draft has turned into one of the most popular sporting events where fans don't even watch live sports.

This thing has become so popular, the Vikings didn't even have a top 20 pick, still this place was packed tonight.

For football fans, it's Christmas meets the Super Bowl.

Dan Ovnan, Vikings Fan: "It's almost better than watching a regular game because you don't know who you're going to get.”

TV coverage of the draft started in the early 80s and has transformed from this dull, small scale event in hotel ballrooms, to now the glitz and glam of New York City as 12,000 people pack into Radio City Music Hall.

It has turned the NFL into a year round sport and there's an audience for that.

It used to be the big four in America: baseball, basketball, hockey and football. It's now the big one. A study by Arbitron research shows the NFL has as many fans as the other three combined.

"They say baseball is America's game. I say the NFL is now America's game"

NBA playoffs are going on right now and tonight's draft will likely beat playoff basketball by three times in the ratings.

The draft is so big right now, more than 7 million people even tuned in to just watch these guys try out for the draft.

The only show with more viewers: Super Bowl, but it's gaining ground.

Sports psychologists say the popularity is in that unknown. The chance any player selected could turn your team, into Super Bowl champs just like the best Christmas presents, that right draft pick could bring you joy for years to come.

"One pick can pretty much decide your future."

Andy Altringer, Cowboys Fan: "You used to wake up the next day and pick up the USA Today and find out who picked who."

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