In a little more than 48 hours from now, one sport in particular will find itself slap bang in the middle of some Machiavellian strategising, subterfuge, horse trading and poker playing. No, it won't be the latest round of SPFL reconstruction talks but rather the NFL draft which, for the first time, will be staged without a venue due to the coronavirus lockdown.

A military operation has ensued to ensure the homes of the 32 general managers representing each of the teams are compliant. It has required a massive IT effort to install and/or confirm that internet connections are reliable, appropriate equipment is provided and a back-up system is in place. Each general manager will have the use of their own individual IT specialist to ensure that any problems are resolved in timely fashion. You know, just to prevent a PDF from tripping a firewall, for example.

Inevitably, there are concerns about potential chicanery. In normal circumstances, the franchises spend weeks prevaricating over which players they are likely to pick, often using leaks, press conferences and interviews to hint at which direction they might be going in for a particular player or position of need, but this year is different with the potential for hacking. Certainly, it would not be the first time a team made the most of a chance to take a sneaky peak at what their rivals might be doing.

As Kevin Demoff, the chief operating officer of the Los Angeles Rams, notes: “How do you make sure your conversations are protected? . . . That would be my biggest concern, just from an encryption standpoint, of how do you have these conversations confidentially and make sure they go through.”

Hmm, yes it all sounds incredibly familiar this.

It has brought questions from teams regarding a perceived rush to force something unpopular through when it doesn't need to be. The NFL disagrees saying that there can no guarantees that social distancing guidelines will change and secondly, the organisation believes there is a commitment to the sport's audience to keep spirits up rather to leave fans harbouring ill-will. As Roger Goodell, the NFL commissioner, said: “We want to show people there's a future out there and that we're all going to be a part of it.”

It's almost as if supporters and their wishes actually matter.

Goodell, booed relentlessly every year at the draft, has been criticised in the past for some of the NFL's biggest bungles on domestic violence, player safety and a slew of other gaffes, but there can be little faulting him on this one. Despite entire crowds regularly hurling invective towards him, Goodell keeps coming back for more, playing the pantomime villain with a smile on his face. He's handsomely paid, after all. Indeed, he even leans into the spirit of it.

For those in need of a quick refresher, or even for that matter, an introductory guide, the draft works thus: 32 teams in the NFL refurnish their squads with the best players in the college game. For a sport with franchises worth an estimated combined value of $91 billion – as reported by Forbes in September last year – the idea is wonderfully socialistic in its construction. The worst team from the previous season picks first – theoretically the best player – while the Super Bowl winners get the 32nd best player. This continues for a total of seven rounds during which each player's name is read out alongside his college and the name of his new team. Stripped down to its component parts, it resembles nothing more than a televised three-day university graduation ceremony. In recent years, it has become a red-carpet affair. Last year, it was watched by 47.5m viewers on ABC and ESPN alone. ABC says that a 30-second advertising slot costs in the region of $150,000 and the package often sells out a week before the event itself.

In short, it could exist as a business in its own right except, of course, that the corporate monster the draft is feeding generates more than $16 billion in annual revenue alone. It is what business people call spin-off entrepreneurship. The great irony, though, is that underpinning all this moneymaking is a communitarian approach.

Yes, teams want to win the Super Bowl each season – sometimes they even spy on each other or use other underhand methods to gain an advantage – this in turn creates fierce rivalries among supporters. The New England Patriots, for example, are universally despised as the Manchester United or Real Madrid of American football. Ultimately, however, the teams work as a collective because they understand that what is good for one, is good for all. The lack of self-interest and the adherence to common interests extends beyond tribalism.

Good business sense is paramount. It is why there is a salary cap to protect not just the teams but also the players themselves with those rookies who will be drafted this week limited by what they can earn for the next four to five years based on when and where they are drafted. It is why the teams are in rude health. The least valuable team in the NFL is the Buffalo Bills, who are estimated to be worth a whopping $1.9 billion.

The lion's share of the league's finances – and, in turn, franchise money – comes from television deals. Those contracts are suitably lucrative because each year multiple teams have a chance of winning the Super Bowl, and collegiately there is an emphasis on making the product better for all concerned.

Or in other words, the turkeys – that most American of birds – understood the value in voting for Christmas.