ESPN Scores Most-Watched First Round of NFL Draft Yet with 9.9 Million Viewers
ESPN's live telecast of the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft on Thursday, May 8, averaged 9,943,000 viewers with a 6.1 US rating based on fast nationals, according to the Nielsen Company, making it the most-viewed NFL Draft telecast in ESPN's 35 years of presenting the event.
The rating is up 49 percent (vs. 4.1) while viewership climbed an impressive 60 percent (vs. 6,199,000 viewers) compared to last year's NFL Draft opening night. This year's telecast ranks as the sixth highest-rated event of 2014 behind only the five Bowl Championship Series College Football games on ESPN. The previous best opening-round telecast was 2010 (4.6 US rating and 7,290,000 viewers).
Last night's ESPN telecast peaked at an 8.0 rating between 9:45-10 p.m. ET (when the Dallas Cowboys picked at No. 16). The top 10 metered markets included Cleveland (13.0), Houston (11.6), Austin, TX (11.3), Greenville, SC (10.8), New Orleans (10.8), Buffalo (10.6), San Antonio (10.2), Columbus, OH (8.9), Greensboro, NC (8.8) and Philadelphia (8.7).
ESPN Digital Platforms Log Average Minute Audience of 233,000
NFL Draft content across ESPN digital platforms - including WatchESPN, ESPN.com, mobile Web and apps - logged an average minute audience of 233,000 on Thursday, up 27 percent over the previous year. At its peak (9-10 p.m.), ESPN's NFL Draft-related digital content logged an average minute audience of 1.1 million people. Also, WatchESPN logged 457,000 unique viewers and 27 million total minutes, up 122 percent and 153 percent, respectively, compared to Round 1 of the 2013 NFL Draft.
On mobile platforms, the ESPN mobile Web NFL section generated 3.3 million unique visitors (up 49 percent) and an average minute audience of 32,000 (up 68 percent). On Twitter, 1.6 million people tweeted a total of 7.2 million tweets during the NFL Draft telecast window, more than double (160 percent) and more than quadruple (352 percent) the amount compared to last year, respectively. In total, near 80 percent of all TV tweets on Thursday were about the NFL Draft.
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 news and information programs will continue to provide coverage of the event throughout the weekend.