For fans of professional football (soccer), especially in the top European leagues, the only way for a club to obtain a new player is to buy. Teams can get players on free transfers or make swap deals but in most cases, the buying team must make a financial offer to the selling team for a deal to go through.
However, this does not apply for all sports and some have a draft. A sports draft is a different way of allocating players to teams. Basically, teams take it in turns to select a player from the group of players available and they then have the right to sign that player to a contract. In a draft sports system, no other team can legally make an offer for that player, only the team which has chosen the player in the draft.
The draft is most commonly used in North America for sports including American Football, Basketball, Ice Hockey, Baseball and Soccer. The National Football League is perhaps the biggest and most covered sport when it comes to drafts in sports and the best place to look for an example of the draft in action.
2. Draft in NFL
There are seven rounds of the NFL draft and the team which finished in last place of the previous season has the first pick while the team who won the Super Bowl has the final pick. Each NFL team has one player pick per round and there is a 10 minute window for teams to make each of their picks.
Once a team has picked a player, the selected player is usually paraded for the cameras and introduced by the commissioner of the league. This is a big deal for fans of the NFL and the draft is shown live on television. More than 8 million people tune in to watch the draft happen live and it has become a great spectacle in its own right.
3. Draft in NBA
In contrast, the National Basketball Association draft is only two rounds. The differences do not end there and instead of allowing the bottom placed team to have first pick, the teams are drawn at random to decide who will go first in the NBA draft. It is thought that by doing it this way, it prevents teams from losing on purpose towards the end of the season when it becomes apparent, they are not in contention for the playoffs.
4. Draft in NHL
The National Hockey League draft works in a similar way to the NBA draft in that a lottery is used to decide the order of the picks but there are seven rounds in total.
There is always plenty to debate following a sports draft as fans and pundits debate who picked up the best players and what it could mean for the season ahead.