There will never be another draft like the 2020 NFL draft. And there will probably never be another television audience for a draft like the one the NFL experienced either.
Everyone knew this year’s draft, conducted with most people staying at home and NFL teams navigating through changes due to the coronavirus restrictions, would be the most-watched draft in history. Still, the numbers are astounding.
Over the three-day event, the NFL had more than 55 million total viewers across all media platforms, the league said.
All to watch Roger Goodell read off names from his basement.
The average audience of 8.2 million viewers on ABC, ESPN, NFL Network, ESPN Deportes, and digital channels shattered the old mark. It was a 35 percent increase from the old record of 6.2 million viewers in 2019.
The draft looked unlike any other, with cameras in homes of prospects, coaches and general managers around the league. While the NFL might incorporate some of what worked into future draft broadcasts, it will not be able to recreate the uniqueness of this year’s event.
Part of the appeal to a vast audience was the production itself. Would there be technological glitches? What would it look like for Goodell to conduct the draft from his house? How would the ESPN/NFL Network combined broadcast work? There were positive answers to all those questions and even the moments in which the draft went off the rails a bit — from the broadcast showing Bill Belichick’s dog at his laptop while the New England Patriots were on the clock to Goodell becoming more and more tired and relaxed in his easy chair — were charming.
"I couldn't be more proud of the efforts and collaboration of our clubs, league personnel, and our partners to conduct an efficient Draft and share an unforgettable experience with millions of fans during these uncertain times," Goodell said in a statement.
This year’s NFL draft had everything, including a record audience. We won’t forget it anytime soon.
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