By Josh Glasheen, Sports Partnerships Manager
There are few events in all of sports that are packed with as much anticipation as the NFL Draft. For an event that doesn’t involve a single ball being thrown, a single play being called or a single point being scored, it is perhaps one of the most eagerly awaited dates on the sports calendar. The future of NFL franchises hang in the balance. A good Draft pick can make the difference between a playoff berth and heading home early; between the start of a dynasty and another year of re-building; with the chance to add a future face of the franchise. With so much at stake for teams, coaches and fans alike, it is no wonder that when the Draft is on the line, the NFL relies on Cisco.
Throughout our first season as An Official Partner of the NFL – from Kickoff to the Super Bowl and every instant replay review in between – the NFL has relied on Cisco’s solutions, expertise and partnerships to power their biggest events on the largest stages. And this year’s Draft in Las Vegas is no exception, as Cisco will be integral to the event experience for teams and NFL staff.
For the first time ever, the NFL Draft will be held in Las Vegas on the Strip – which makes for a unique on-site experience, complete with its own set of challenges. Cisco networking technology will sit at the center of it all, supporting the vital connections needed when the stakes are so high.
As fans on-site in Vegas and across the country wait with bated breath for their team’s selection, Cisco technology will be behind-the-scenes of every pick. Perhaps nothing is more iconic to the event than the NFL Draft countdown clock, which sits at the heart of the Draft itself, ensuring fair play and transparency in the player selection process, and building excitement and anticipation for fans watching live and at home.
For each and every pick, the clock is input to a computer from the Head Table in Las Vegas, where the countdown is transmitted live over Cisco network infrastructure via Cisco Meraki and Cisco routers and switches to NFL Headquarters in New York. Cisco’s network infrastructure provides the clock and other Draft data directly to each of the 32 clubs, ensuring reliable and secure access and communication during all three days of the Draft. When each team is on the clock – and the hopes of a franchise hang in the balance – there is no room for downtime.
Building on our success together at the Super Bowl this past February at SoFi Stadium, the NFL is also partnering with Cisco to help secure the Draft, deploying an end-to-end network security solution. Cisco’s industry-leading portfolio of security solutions – with a combination of on-premise hardware and cloud-based software – allow the NFL to detect, analyze, and block any applications or activity that can put the Draft at risk. Security is essential to the success of the Draft, and we are proud to continue as a trusted partner of the NFL for their tentpole events.
So while every team remains on the clock for a few more days, the NFL’s pick is in, and it is Cisco!