ESPN's Second Highest-Rated and Second Most-Viewed NFL Draft
Rating Up 16 Percent vs. 2011
ESPN's live telecast of the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft on Thursday, April 26, averaged 6,661,000 viewers with a 5.1 household coverage rating based on fast nationals, according to the Nielsen Company.
The rating was an increase of 16 percent from last year's first round, which earned a 3.8 rating. Viewership was up 11 percent over last year's 6,003,000 average. In addition, last night's opening round ranks as the second highest-rated and second most-viewed NFL Draft telecast on record, behind only the 2010 first round (5.3 rating and 7,290,000 viewers). ESPN has televised the NFL Draft annually since 1980 and the event has received ratings since 1983.
Last night's ESPN telecast peaked at a 5.8 rating between 8:30 and 9 p.m. ET. The top five metered markets included: Cleveland (10.7 rating), Birmingham, Ala., (10.5), Dayton, Ohio (8.3), Columbus, Ohio (7.3) and Buffalo, N.Y. (7.3).
NFL content across ESPN digital platforms generated an average minute audience of 84,000 yesterday, up 11 percent compared to the same day last year. The NFL section on ESPN.com specifically had an average minute audience of 24,000, up nine percent. Meanwhile, the NFL section on the mobile Web had an average minute audience of 21,000, up 50 percent.
ESPN's live NFL Draft coverage continues tonight at 7 p.m. (rounds 2 and 3) and Saturday at 12 p.m. (rounds 4-7). In addition, SportsCenter and ESPN's NFL-themed news and information programs will continue to provide coverage of the event throughout the weekend.