ESPN, NFL Network see ratings increase for draft

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After a season in which NFL television ratings declined, the major event of the offseason got a boost in ratings.

Both ESPN and NFL Network reported that their ratings increased over last year. ESPN averaged 3.1 million viewers over the entire 15 hours of the draft, spread over three days and on both ESPN and ESPN2. For NFL Network, which averaged 1.5 million viewers, it was the most-viewed draft ever.

For Round 1 on Thursday night only, ESPN averaged 6.9 million viewers, while NFL Network averaged 2.5 million viewers.

Browns fans are incredibly loyal viewers of the draft: Cleveland repeated as the No. 1 local market for draft ratings, while Dayton was tied with host city Philadelphia for second. Local ratings in Philadelphia this year were significantly higher than local ratings in host city Chicago last year.

League executives will surely see the good ratings as vindication of their approach to the draft, which has included an attempt to bring in more casual fans with gimmicks that some hard-core football fans dislike. The draft is getting better with each year and at each new venue, and it shows no sign of slowing down.

18 responses to “ESPN, NFL Network see ratings increase for draft

  1. It doesn’t get anymore ‘NFL City’ than it does in Philadelphia, oh btw

    “Fly Eagles Fly on the road to victory……..”

  2. I was one of the ones glued to my TV. I thought the draft was awesome. Very entertaining, lots of intrigues and very colorful. Philadelphia was a great host for this event.

  3. Drop the dumb zoo stuff, but other than that it was pretty good. I could do with a lot less of the “special presenter” stuff, though. Just give me the pick. I don’t need the winner of the Las Vegas Make-A-Wish City Council military whatever to do it. Just talk football for crying out loud.

  4. Philadelphia as a host city knocked it out of the park. The bar is now set incredibly high with a fun festival atmosphere. Agree with the comments about doing away with the fluffy corny special interest presenters. Let Jimmy Kimmel ad-lib onstage and announce the selections. Goodell is such a buzzkill. – Cowboy fan

  5. So, the ratings show that despite the circus atmosphere with animals, astronauts, an unpopular commissioner, and retired ex-player of a bitter rival, and on a network with alleged SJW views (conservatives hate social issues), people will still watch the draft.

    Goodell’s ego is ready to explode.

  6. The NFL will always have better ratings if they keep politics away from their products and news for that matter. For those that want to mention the military and how politics have always been in sports, that’s not what I’m talking about. They can really learn from last season with Kaepernick’s fiasco and ESPN’s stance on being a liberal network willing to talk more about politics and less about sports.

    There’s a problem when Undisputed with Skip Bayless is a better show and is more entertaining to watch over First Take. It’s probably because of Matt Kellerman. ESPN used to be great but not anymore, of course. Hopefully, NFL Network continues to stay clear of that same political stuff. To add to all of that, it hurts the game when they’re constantly changing the rules and adding in so many commercial breaks as well.

  7. HOPE draws ratings. When reality sets in and markets like Cleveland realize how bad their teams, are they will find out that misery, once again, does not sell.

  8. .
    I’m guessing that the ratings in New England were down considerably during rounds 1 & 2.

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