We finally had a major sporting event take place Thursday night, and all eyes were on the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft.
You could say the country was feeling pretty deprived of sports based on the ratings, as NFL Media on Friday announced the first round festivities demolished all-time draft viewership records for Night 1.
Per a statement from NFL Communications, an average audience of 15.6 million viewers tuned in for Round 1 coverage — torching the previous peak of 12.4 million in 2014 — across ABC, ESPN, NFL Network, ESPN Deportes and digital channels.
“The theme of hope is always prevalent in the NFL, especially with regard to the Draft,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in the statement. “In 2020, that’s especially true, as we help honor healthcare workers, first responders, and others on the front lines of the battle with COVID-19 while giving our fans something to cheer about as we celebrate the next generation of NFL stars. We are thrilled so many people were able to join us last night and we thank them for helping support the Draft-A-Thon.”
— NFL Media (@NFLMedia) April 24, 2020
Columbus, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Philadelphia and Kansas City were the markets with highest viewership, with Jacksonville and Atlanta close behind.
The event’s philanthropic mission was highly successful as well, with more than seven million viewers tuning into the fundraising effort for COVID-19 relief, which featured a video hangout between NFL quarterbacks Tom Brady and Russell Wilson, comedian Kevin Hart and more.
It all continues Friday night, as we head into Rounds 2 and 3.