First-round TV ratings for NFL draft plummets

NFL: APR 28 2022 Draft
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The NFL draft, the league’s primary offseason tentpole event, continues to find a way to generate tremendous interest. However, the trend is currently not the NFL’s friend.

Via @SportsTVRatings on Twitter, average viewership came in at 10.03 million for the first round of the 2022 draft. While that’s solid for a reality show about nothing, it’s way down from last year. Which was way down from the year before.

In 2021, the first round averaged 12.5 million viewers. In 2020, the virtual draft averaged 15.3 million viewers.

That’s a drop of more than 33 percent since 2020. In many respects, it has plenty to do with the absence of big-name quarterbacks at the top of the draft. The fact that 25 percent of the teams didn’t have first-round picks at all surely was a factor in the reduced numbers.

Last night, 4.446 million watched on ESPN, 3.803 million tuned in on ABC, and 1.782 million watched NFL Network.

It’ll be interesting to see what happens tonight, given that plenty of quarterbacks are still in play and more teams will be picking. It all gets rolling at 7:00 p.m. ET.

10 responses to “First-round TV ratings for NFL draft plummets

  1. Chicago’s not watching, LA’s not watching. No one cared who was taken #1 overall. No flashy or controversial names. No drama.

    Even the war rooms were quiet and not excited. The players selected were like “whatever”.

  2. It’s absolutely because so many teams didn’t have a first-round pick. You take out some big markets like Los Angeles, San Francisco, Miami, Chicago, etc. and you’re not going to get the big audience. Maybe the NFL will make it illegal to trade your first-round pick until draft night so they can keep the ratings up. Would you put it past them?

  3. I think if they got back to making the picks, talking about said pick and doing away with all the other garbage, it would probably get better ratings.

  4. A couple thoughts:
    1. As someone who follows college football about 25% as much as I follow NFL, I could name maybe two players that were going to be taken in the first round. Not many big names in this year’s draft.

    2. The draft coverage, at least on ESPN, was awful. The announcers were terrible. It had a dull Criss Angel magic trick. They interviewed parents between each draft pick, which got a little tiresome. Just not enough to keep me watching past the first ten picks or so.

  5. I didn’t even realize ABC was airing it. I’ll have to see what’s going on over there tonight.

  6. Maybe becuz by the time late April rolls around people are just done with it all. Also, they drag it out by having everyone and their mother announce the picks. Sorry, just not interesting.

  7. When a 1/4 of the teams have 1/2 the selections .. that explains 33% of fans not tuning in.

  8. Part of it has to be how padded it is now, with too many guest pick announcers and people brought up on stage. It’s frustrating to sit through when you can just follow along as the results are posted online.

  9. In 2020, ratings were artificially inflated because of Covid and there were no other sports to watch. Ratings are coming back to where they were before

  10. Nobody cared in Oakland or Vegas, or a TON of people in LA – the Raiders with no 1st or 2nd round picks. I didn’t tune in til the 3rd rd rolled around. And even then I was bored to death. I hardly did any research on the players this season because of the lack of picks, so I didn’t know or care about any of the names.

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