NFL Draft watch parties continue in isolation, thanks to Zoom

Packers fans watch NFL Draft from home in isolation
Posted at 11:58 PM, Apr 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-24 01:06:06-04

On a night when 32 NFL prospects dreams are coming true, Lambeau Field is silent.

Barely a stir or sign of life on a cold, drizzly night, the grounds of Lambeau are empty on the outside as fans isolate at home for safety due to coronavirus.

To combat separation from fellow fans, Cheesehead tvTV organized a virtual watch party over Zoom, a teleconferencing software.

"Every year they do something, but this year, it felt like we needed to do something a little more significant," contributor Maggie Loney said. "So the room will hold up to one thousand people. I have no idea what that will look like. I know that there will be special guests rolling in throughout the night. So we'll see. It should be a good time, just a bunch of diehard fans watching."

Special guests included Will Blackmon, David Bhaktiari, Andy Herman, and TJ Lang. The virtual party was only open to Cheesehead TV staff and Patreon members of the Green Bay Packers fan site.

While this might be a new normal for American fans, football lovers overseas are used to using technology to connect with other fans around the world.

"It's fine for us because we started this group because we were isolated," Stephen O'Brien, co-founder of UK and Ireland Packers fan club said. "So in a way, we've got so much experience with it now. The group's been going since 2013."

"It started on Twitter, so we could all interact," O'Brien said. "And now it's gone to Facebook, Instagram and everything else. So yeah, it's OK over here in isolation because that's kind of all we have anyway."

The 2020 NFL Draft was not scheduled to start in Ireland until 1 a.m., with the Packers' 30th pick in the first round slated for an unknown but large amount of time later. So how exactly do you keep Cheeseheads connected when apart?

"We stay up and cover it on our twitter accounts," O'Brien said, "we stay up and try to interact. But now, what you're doing with Zoom, that's what it's all about now. So we've got a few Zoom chats that are going to go on."

In addition to this, the Green Bay Convention & Visitors Bureau has organized a virtual tailgate Facebook group that has grown to over 2,000 members. There, Green Bay fanatics continue to share their love of green and gold every day, with emphasis on Sundays to bond over tailgating at home.