ESPN’s 15-plus hours of coverage of the 2014 NFL Draft were a big hit, scoring the network’s highest-rated draft coverage since 1993. With content appearing on both ESPN and ESPN2 between May 8th and May 10th, the 2014 NFL Draft earned a 2.7 U.S. rating which represents a 31% improvement compared to the 2013 NFL Draft (2.1). An average of 4,121,000 people watched this year’s draft.

As expected, ESPN put up some huge draft numbers with the likes of Johnny Manziel and Michael Sam adding name recognition to the festivities. Compelling stories filled the duration of the three-day coverage, helping ESPN post big ratings not only for the first couple rounds, but also in the late rounds when most viewers have tuned out. ESPN’s Day 3 coverage (Rounds 4-7) had an average viewership of 1,962,000 people. We can safely assume a certain 7th round pick had something to do with that.

Which markets delivered the biggest numbers? See the top-10 below. It’s interesting to note that not only were top NFL markets present, but top college markets as well. SEC country was tuned in as college hotbeds like Birmingham rated highly. Even though the Saints had a quiet draft, New Orleans topped the local markets as they did throughout the NFL season for their Saints. And seemingly all of Ohio was invested in the draft with Johnny Manziel going to Cleveland:

1. New Orleans (5.6 rating)
2. Cleveland (5.6)
3. Birmingham, Ala. (5.3)
4. Buffalo (4.8)
5. Greenville, S.C. (4.8)
6. Houston (4.5)
7. Dayton (4.2),
8. Columbus, Ohio (4.1)
9. Austin (4.1)
10. Cincinnati (4.0)

About David Rogers

Editor for The Comeback and Contributing Editor for Awful Announcing. Lover of hockey, soccer and all things pop culture.

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