ESPN's NFL Draft: Round 1 Scores Seven Million Viewers
Third Highest-Rated and Third Most-Viewed Opening Night Ever
Thursday night's live ESPN telecast of the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft averaged 7,026,000 viewers and a 4.5 US rating based on fast nationals, according to Nielsen, making it the third most-viewed and third highest-rated opening day draft in ESPN's 36 years of presenting the event (since 1980).
The 2014 NFL Draft - which included former Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel falling to the 22nd pick in the first round - ranks as the highest-rated (6.1 rating) and most-viewed (9,943,000 viewers) opening night for ESPN. The 2010 draft - which included another former Heisman winner, Tim Tebow, picked at No. 25 by the Denver Broncos - ranks second (4.6 rating and 7,290,000 viewers).
Last night's ESPN telecast peaked at a 5.4 rating and 8,446,000 viewers between 8:30-9 p.m. ET. The top 10 metered markets included Cleveland (11.4), New Orleans (8.6), Philadelphia (8.0), Columbus, Ohio (7.4), Birmingham, Ala. (7.4), Tampa-St. Petersburg (6.8), Greensboro, N.C. (6.7), Norfolk, Va. (6.6), Charlotte (6.4) and Baltimore (6.4).
WatchESPN logged 603,000 unique viewers and 31 million total minutes, up 32 percent and 16 percent, respectively, compared to Round 1 of the 2014 NFL Draft. It also had an average minute audience of 144,000, up 23 percent.
ESPN NFL Draft Coverage Continues Friday and Saturday
ESPN's live NFL Draft coverage continues tonight at 7 p.m. ET (rounds 2 and 3) and Saturday at 12 p.m. (rounds 4-7). In addition, SportsCenter and ESPN's NFL news and information programs will continue to provide coverage of the event throughout the weekend from Chicago. ESPN Radio will also broadcast rounds 2 and 3 tonight (6:30 p.m.).
ESPN NFL Draft Telecast Ratings - Round 1 (2010-15):
Year US Rating Viewers
2015 4.5 7,026,000
2014 6.1 9,943,000
2013 4.1 6,199,000
2012 4.4 6,661,000
2011 3.8 6,003,000
2010 4.6 7,290,000