Addition of network television makes for most-watched NFL draft ever

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The NFL draft was on network television for the first time ever, and that made the difference as it became the most-watched draft ever.

The league announced today that the draft had an average of 5.5 million viewers at any given time, the highest viewership total ever for the full draft. The first round of the draft averaged 11.2 million viewers on Thursday night. Draft viewership declines on the second and third days, but Saturday’s average of 2.9 million viewers was the best Day 3 ever.

This year NFL Network’s coverage on Thursday and Friday night was simulcast on FOX, while ESPN’s coverage on Saturday was simulcast on ABC in most markets.

After ratings of NFL games have declined for the last two seasons, the league was looking for something to bolster the viewership of its biggest offseason event, and the addition of network TV partners made a big difference.

50 responses to “Addition of network television makes for most-watched NFL draft ever

  1. I’m sure, but far from the most interesting draft ever. A boring first round unless you are a Cleveland, Buffalo, or maybe Baltimore fan.

  2. YES!!!!!! who cares. i must say although i despise the eagles HATE EM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Even I have to admit that the kicker speech was straight from WWF funny. Life is to short, you gotta laugh.
    I just hope football stays a Real Mans Sport, Warriors and Real Tough guys playing. Im seeing a trend that scares me. And we all know what im talking about.

    NFC BEAST WORLD GREATEST DIVISION! BAR NONE!

  3. The NFL draft on FOX makes a lot of sense. It’s better than what the NBA does with hiding it on TBS or TNT or whatever the channel is. Why hide these sports?

  4. You can thank Jerry Jones. The amount of money he makes for the NFL is astounding.

  5. Funny… where is the droves of fan protesting? I said it before and I will say it again- The NFL is not going away and any slight dip in ratings is because of the way games are watched, ie. Phones Tablets, Computers, Rokus, etc.. Heck, I just paid over $700 for 2 seats to go to a Panthers game in October? Not even good seats, not SNF, MNF or ThursNFL, just a regular game against the Giants. Insane how valuable this league is. Teams are selling for Billion$ and it keeps rising.

  6. As long as there’s always an option to watch the draft without seeing or listening to Mel Kiper, I’m happy!

  7. I have never watched before but I wanted to give it a try and went with NFL network. I cant speak for the other broadcasts but that one really dragged for me. The reporting was not good at all, I think those guys were trying to be entertainers more than analysts and it fell flat. IMHO it was not a good use of my time as far as how much info that mattered to me vs how long I had to wait between times it came. Next year Im going to return to my normal habit of just letting it happen and reading up on it afterward.

  8. Interesting, isn’t it, how the NFL has been so bent on taking their product off of over the air TV. The people that run TV and the league don’t really have a clue what the viewing audience really wants.

  9. Let’s be honest with each other. Trump has made the rich richer, while the working poor still can’t afford the outrageous prices cable and satellite charge. Trump touts unemployment numbers, but never mentions many people make the same working as they did on public assistance, so there has been no corresponding increase in quality of life. Life under Trump has been horrifying for women, minorities, and the poor, and many people need free TV to watch anything since he became President.

  10. Michael E says:
    April 29, 2018 at 5:23 pm
    You can thank Jerry Jones. The amount of money he makes for the NFL is astounding

    Incorrect, it’s because it was also on a broadcast channel…Cmon man, think before you post.

  11. Day 1 attendance numbers were the only attendance numbers announced thus far, according to today’s Star Telegram article.

    You all know Jerry would be touting his vastly superior business skills had they broken Philly’s numbers.

    So I guess they didn’t.

  12. The draft has to get back to basics. We don’t care about the experts, we only watch to find out who the guys our favorite teams picked and how they can help out team be better. The so-called experts prove they don’t know anything whenever they speak before the player is taken.

  13. I guess if you put it on more channels, more people will watch.

    Shocker I tell ya!

  14. Please ditch all the players that come out and represent the team that is drafting such as that little punk kicker Ackers, if the She-gles wanted to trash the Cowboys for what Drew Pearson did last year in Philly, then they should have chosen someone with some credibility, not a kicker who won zero as a player and sounded like a 10 year old school girl yelling in the playground.

  15. Good excuse to have a party on Thursday, Friday and Saturday for football fans.

  16. Ok NFL. Looks like there is still interest in your product. Now stop with the stupid player safety rules. And players stop the stupid kneeling crap. Also the NFL should make potential first rounders show up to the draft , it’s just makes for better TV.

  17. stucats says:
    April 29, 2018 at 6:33 pm
    Please ditch all the players that come out and represent the team that is drafting such as that little punk kicker Ackers, if the She-gles wanted to trash the Cowboys for what Drew Pearson did last year in Philly, then they should have chosen someone with some credibility, not a kicker who won zero as a player and sounded like a 10 year old school girl yelling in the playground.

    Bro its all fun. If you didnt smirk smile nor laugh then your not enjoying life. We punked them They punked us.
    Nothing more. We have FIVE DIAMOND GOLD RINGS! they have ONE …. 1.
    We ARE “THE” N F C B E A S T !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  18. I am sure Florio will find a way to twist this into a story about the demise of the league.

  19. Now that I’m in my 60’s I can’t understand what Mel Kiper says, he talks so dam fast.
    But he’s a liberal so I understand why!!! I listened to the NFL channel and enjoyed it.

  20. .
    free streaming had more to do with it…
    people are sick and tired of being charged $100 a month for hundreds of channels when they only watch 3-4, so cutting the cable…

  21. briang123 says:
    April 29, 2018 at 6:02 pm
    Let’s be honest with each other. Trump has made the rich richer, while the working poor still can’t afford the outrageous prices cable and satellite charge. Trump touts unemployment numbers, but never mentions many people make the same working as they did on public assistance, so there has been no corresponding increase in quality of life. Life under Trump has been horrifying for women, minorities, and the poor, and many people need free TV to watch anything since he became President.

    —————

    But according to the article this is the most watched draft ever so if you are using NFL draft viewership as a barometer of how well most people are faring under Trump that would indicate things have gotten better under Trump for more people than ever. Im not sure thats where you were trying to go with that little rant but its what you did wind up saying. But also for the record my own opinion is this has nothing to do with Trump and thats why the article is on a football site.

  22. .
    the amount of commercials on day 2 and 3 were INSANE.
    a pick would get announced, we watch the podium and the internet tracker was showing the next Teams Pick was in ALREADY because things were moving fast…. but NOPE the announcers said nothing about the next team already picked and off to a commercial we went… that happened numerous times…

  23. briang123 says:
    April 29, 2018 at 6:02 pm
    Let’s be honest with each other. Trump has made the rich richer, while the working poor still can’t afford the outrageous prices cable and satellite charge. Trump touts unemployment numbers, but never mentions many people make the same working as they did on public assistance, so there has been no corresponding increase in quality of life. Life under Trump has been horrifying for women, minorities, and the poor, and many people need free TV to watch anything since he became President.
    ———————
    Agreed, and also they did not always go back and speak to the pick. And if suddenly another team was picking in your teams place you were left wondering what happened. I wound up using an internet site to track the draft on day 3. Also sometimes it wasnt just the commercials, they were getting a lot into their banter and sometimes a commercial break would ebd, they would spend a few minutes giving random thoughts on things that had happened earlier in the draft, or elsewhere in football, or a couple times outside football. Then another commercial break. Meanwhile you are wondering what took place and having to go online to find out.

  24. I remember when nobody cared and the teams had these big helmets, made into a phone, done in a hotel conference room and called it in. NOW that you can bet on anything, it has more meaning. NEVADA is ripping OUR country off. I have to play with an ILLEGAL bookie if I want to bet on sports, but it’s ok in Nevada only? Who are you kidding. Are we the United States or this state gets a right from the federal government, but the rest of us don’t? How is that united? Why should I feel dirty?

  25. Allowing former team players to introduce the draft pick was a horrible idea – 90% of the announcements were pathetic and egotistical – outrageous and unprofessional.

  26. According to teamcount dot com, there were ZERO times on all three networks where the team name Redskins wasn’t mentioned after they said “Washington”. Thank goodness that SJW ten-second crusade is over!

  27. I wonder if the commish wants to announce draft picks next year, and whether he will still pretend that the audience is not booing him if he does.

  28. The draft crushed the NBA playoffs in the ratings. Shhhhhhh, don’t tell Cuban and the “Cuban is right” crowd

  29. The logical next step is to bring in every player that interviewed with a team or was invited to a combine. Get the entire field of potential draft picks in one building, and family too. Watching them celebrate or get progressively crestfallen would provide more real drama than reality TV as a whole. There will be droves of new viewers who would watch a show about the wives of players yet never watch a game.

    It is inevitable. That’s the world we live in now.

  30. The draft has the potential to be a top notch event, but the production should be upgraded to make it more interesting. Seeing Goodell bear hug player after player as if he’s their BFF comes off as more as him needing them more than the other way around. It would be more meaningful to have the player drafted connect with a HF player from the team that drafted him, or something similar. I turned off the sound and tried to follow along, but the graphics were not that helpful, especially when trades were made to jump up/down the board. I’d give the production a “C.”

  31. We watched and enjoyed the draft on Days 1 and 2 on FOX. On Day 3, we attempted to watch on ABC and turned it off because the production was so poor. All a bunch of endless chatter by the ESPN staff all trying to show how much they know about everything and not talking about the teams or players being drafted. You had to watch the little trailer at the bottom of the screen to see where they were at. We turned it off and just checked in on a couple of websites (PFT was one) to follow it. ABC should stick with reruns of old General Hospital or something next year as it would be more entertaining and informative than the ESPN broadcast.

  32. And with the expanded group of “experts” came expanded commercials that ran through many picks as the network crammed as many in as possible. Very frustrating to wait for your pick only to have it skipped over with some stupid commercial and then returned to hear table talk and chatter from the panel of experts totally unrelated to the pick at hand but rather their insights on picks from previous days, etc.
    Need to go back to a more simplified format, less commercials, less “insights”, less comic relief and more focus on the current pick on the board. All the other stuff can wait till they do the “analysis” AFTER the draft has completed.

  33. Two things:
    1) “Free” TV vs cable especially when people are cutting the cable in droves.
    2) More interesting story lines this year with 4 top 10 QBs and everyone interested in where they were going.

  34. I like football. I hate politics. I don’t care what the social justice warriors do. I’m going to watch my NFL and have a great time. The Broncos did a spectacular job.

  35. why do we need comic relief at all? This is the NFL Draft, not the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Is the NFL doing this to cater to the vapid millennials? What a waste.

  36. @stucats

    that 10-year-old girls voice carried over all the boos from the cowboys fans. They could not drown him out. They had no choice but to hear his taunting.

    Moreover sending a kicker is symbolic of the situation between these organizations… Dallas had to rely on a decades old player that most young fans have no idea who he is to do the trash talking… But Philly merely sends their kicker because even a mere kicker can embarrass and ridicule Dallas, that’s how pathetic Dallas is at this point in time, that’s how low this fruit is hanging . 😂

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