Fans turned up in a big way to set a record for NFL Draft viewers

NFL Draft

Fans love the NFL Draft and they especially loved it this year as it set a new high in ratings and total viewers.

The NFL Draft was the greatest show on TV the last few days as the ratings were through the roof on ESPN and the NFL Network for the seven-round event. There was plenty of drama and intrigue to make fans tune in on Thursday night for the beginning of the first round.

No one really knew what the Cleveland Browns were going to do with the No. 1 overall pick. Coupled with that, the New York Giants and New York Jets owned the No. 2 and No. 3 picks, meaning the biggest media market in the country had their fans dialed in on NFL Network and/or ESPN.

This year’s NFL Draft saw 11.2 million viewers tune in for the first round across all channels it was televised. That’s an impressive showing by NFL fans who always love the draft, but really loved this year’s storylines.

After the Browns took Baker Mayfield, the Giants took Saquon Barkley and the Jets took Sam Darnold, the viewers didn’t drop off the rest of the night as fans stayed glued to their screens.

While there is always a precipitous dip from the first round to the rest of the draft, the ratings and viewers stayed strong.

In fact, Saturday’s coverage of Rounds 4-7 was the most-watched Day 3 in the short history of breaking up the Draft into three days. That’s typically when fans, even die-hard ones, have draft fatigue and aren’t hanging on to every pick until Mr. Irrelevant is announced to close the show.

This just goes to show you that the NFL Draft is great at bringing NFL fans and college football fans together for a three-day event that is the perfect marriage of college and pro football.

I’ll be very curious to see how the ratings are for next year or if this was a one-year blip. The strength of the quarterbacks and the big market teams picking near the top of the draft likely skewed things to have the ratings bonanza that occurred, but it’s clear that the NFL Draft is must-see TV, even for all seven rounds.

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