By Rob Shaw – Sports Media Partnerships

Anticipation is mounting by the minute ahead of the 2016 NFL Draft, as top sports media outlets turn to Facebook Live as a brand-new way to find and engage audiences around the world. In this rare moment during the NFL off-season, hope springs eternal as competing franchises – both the strong and the struggling – aspire to choose the building blocks for better days ahead. Fan bases for each of the 32 teams eagerly await their big moments, while rumors and analysis drive plenty of social conversation on Facebook.

Drama unfolded when FOX Sports host Clay Travis covered the blockbuster deal that landed the first overall pick for the Tennessee Titans. Even a vacation in Aruba could not stop Travis from going Live via cellphone from the balcony of his hotel – Caribbean waters as his backdrop:

Bleacher Report soon followed with its first-ever Facebook Live sessions, all focused on draft analysis. Duo Chris Simms and Adam Lefkoe spent nearly an hour answering questions from football fans. The two NFL analysts have attracted hundreds of thousands of viewers during their initiation to Facebook Live. The Bleacher Report video team tapped into the new Facebook Live API, which allows media partners to produce liveshots from a more traditional studio setting with multiple cameras, live graphics, and highlights.

ESPN joined the conversation on Facebook with NFL analyst Louis Riddick breaking down the first round of his mock draft with SportsCenter co-host Trey Wingo. Fans shaped the Facebook Live broadcast as Riddick answered questions in real-time. In total the Facebook Live session garnered over 40,000 concurrent viewers, resulting in 1,100+ reactions and 2,400+ comments and questions.

Silver Chalice provided round-the-clock coverage of the Draft this week from its 120 Sports and Campus Insiders studios in Chicago. Star quarterback Drew Brees dropped in, and the production team also got creative with a game of Jenga as some of the top draft prospects answered questions from fans.

Campus Insiders went live from the #NFLPADebut Party ahead of the Draft in Chicago, interviewing future NFL stars as they made their way into the event.

SB Nation‘s Danny Kelly told us more about the “29 players who could be 1st-round surprises” during his Facebook Live, further analyzing the Draft while engaging with viewers on related topics.

CSN Mid-Atlantic localized its coverage on Facebook as former Washington Redskins and Houston Texans GM Charley Casserly broke down his Round 1 Mock Draft with Julie Donaldson.

As viewers gear up for the 2016 NFL Draft on Thursday night in Chicago, Facebook Live promises to provide an interactive second screen as Bleacher Report, Yahoo! Sports, Silver Chalice, Fox Sports, and more, bring fans close to the action and up close with top sports personalities.