By Liz Farmer
Daily Record Business Writer
When NFL draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. began working with ESPN back in 1984, neither one remotely resembled the powerhouses they are today.
Just a few years prior, in 1981, Kiper made his draft report public, punching it out on a typewriter and selling 550 copies. Meanwhile, ESPN was still a fledgling sports network, just five years old.
“The NFL wasn’t king of all sports back in those days,” said Kiper, 49. “They were doing the draft on a Tuesday morning. Now the draft has become a huge event with television coverage on every pick and it’s broadcast at night so people can watch.”
As much as the draft’s popularity has grown, so has Kiper’s Baldwin-based business, Mel Kiper Enterprises Inc. Over the last three decades, Kiper has become the face of a massive draft empire complete with radio shows, television appearances, Web sites and publications.
But with popularity comes competition.