More people tuned in to watch the Jacksonville Jaguars select Trevor Lawrence than watched Anthony Hopkins win the Best Actor Academy Award. The ratings for the first round of the 2021 NFL draft are in, and football remains king over everything else.
Over 12 million people watched the first round of the draft. The figure beat the 2021 Oscars, which drew 9.85 million viewers.
Last night's NFL draft drew 12.4 million viewers. That's more viewers than the Oscars, more viewers than any game of last year's NBA Finals, and more viewers than five of the six games of last year's World Series.
— Michael David Smith (@MichaelDavSmith) April 30, 2021
In fairness, the Oscars' 9.85 million rating was an all-time low for the program.
That shouldn't take away from the NFL's massive figure. In fact, the first round of the draft was the second-most watched first round in the event's history. It was only beat out by last year's first round, which averaged 15.5 million viewers. The first round of the 2020 NFL draft was one of the first sporting events broadcast following the lockdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, which may explain why it saw such a significant jump in viewership.
First round of 2021 NFL draft loaded with excitement
Fans who tuned in Thursday got to see an exciting first round. Five teams grabbed potential franchise-saving quarterbacks, including the Chicago Bears, who made a dramatic trade to select Justin Fields.
Other teams, like the Atlanta Falcons, Cincinnati Bengals, Detroit Lions and Philadelphia Eagles, all took playmaking pass-catchers who can stretch the field. The Dallas Cowboys acquired more picks by trading down — one of three trades completed Thursday — and then grabbed linebacker Micah Parsons to shore up their defense.
Even the back end of the first round was exciting. The Pittsburgh Steelers grabbed running back Najee Harris, and the Baltimore Ravens gave Lamar Jackson another dangerous weapon in receiver Rashod Bateman.
Day 2 of the 2021 NFL draft, which includes both the second and third round, airs Friday night. While it won't draw as many fans as the first round, it should still do solid numbers, especially with all the talent still on the board.
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