NFL draft shattered all-time viewership record for first round

Charean Williams
ProFootball Talk on NBC Sports

With fans starved for live sporting events, the viewership numbers for Thursday night’s first round of the NFL draft will come as no surprise.

The NFL announced it shattered its all-time draft viewership record for night one.

The first round averaged more than 15.6 million viewers combined on broadcast, cable and digital viewing. That was up 37 percent over last year.

The previous high was the 12.4 million viewers in 2014.

ABC, ESPN, NFL Network, ESPN Deportes and digital channels broadcast the event Thursday night.

The TV coverage peaked from 8:45 p.m. to 9 p.m. ET with 19.6 million viewers.

“The theme of hope is always prevalent in the NFL, especially with regard to the Draft,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said. “In 2020, that’s especially true, as we help honor healthcare workers, first responders, and others on the front lines of the battle with COVID-19 while giving our fans something to cheer about as we celebrate the next generation of NFL stars. We are thrilled so many people were able to join us last night and we thank them for helping support the Draft-A-Thon.”

The top-10 metered markets (across all networks) were: Columbus, Ohio (16.7), Cleveland (15.9), Cincinnati (15.6), Philadelphia (15.1), Kansas City (14.3), Jacksonville (14.1), Atlanta (14.0), Charlotte (13.1), Denver (12.8) and (tied) Nashville and Milwaukee (12.7).

Viewership of “Draft-A-Thon LIVE,” the league’s fundraising campaign for COVID-19 causes, topped 7 million total viewers across a number of digital and social properties.

The second and third rounds are held tonight with the final four rounds all day Saturday.

NFL draft shattered all-time viewership record for first round originally appeared on Pro Football Talk

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