The ratings for all three rounds of the 2020 NFL Draft are in and, as expected, they are record setting.
With all sports shut down and Americans in self-quarantine, the NFL and ESPN's collaborative draft broadcast reached more than 55 million viewers over their three days of live coverage. That represents a 16 percent growth from 2019. The average audience for the three-day broadcast was 8.4 million viewers, which eclipsed the previous record of 6.2 million viewers in 2019.
The high point for the draft came, predictably, in the first round, when 15.6 million viewers tuned in, a 37 percent increase from the previous year. Viewership for the second- and third-round coverage on Friday (8.2 million viewers) and the fourth through seventh rounds on Saturday (4.7 million viewers) also saw increases of more than 30 percent in viewership year-over-year.
This was expected, of course. America has been starved for sports since they were all canceled or postponed in mid-March after the COVID pandemic swept across the nation. The NFL Draft proved to be exactly what people were searching for, a therapeutic distraction from the reality of our daily lives. We graded the broadcast and gave it a B+ but for ESPN and the NFL, these ratings are an A.