Maybe it was the Johnny Manziel effect. With the NFL Draft moving to Chicago and selections that didn’t make for really compelling television, the 1st round of the Annual Player Selection Meeting drew a lower overnight rating than 2014. After Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota were chosen 1-2, there really wasn’t much drama in this year’s draft.
ESPN drew a 5.1 overnight which is down 25% from last year which drew a 6.8. But perhaps this year’s rating is more in line with previous years and last year might have been an aberration:
ESPN’s NFL Draft 1st-round overnight rating:
— Sports TV Ratings (@SportsTVRatings) May 1, 2015
One encouraging note for ESPN, the draft’s ratings peaked at a 6.2 during the 8:45-9 p.m. ET quarter-hour, but fell back after that through the telecast’s conclusion at 11:30 p.m.
Deadline notes the top local markets for the Draft:
- Cleveland — 11.4
- New Orleans — 8.6
- Philadelphia — 8.0
- Columbus — 7.4
- Birmingham — 7.4
- Tampa-St. Pete — 6.8
- Greensboro, NC — 6.7
- Norfolk — 6.6
- Charlotte — 6.4
- Baltimore — 6.4
Last year, the Draft on ESPN drew a record 9.9 million viewers for the first round. It appears that the viewership won’t be as high this year, but when all is said and done, the event still should beat the NBA and NHL Playoffs on TNT and NBCSN respectively, which were on opposite the draft.
NFL Network numbers were not available at the time of this writing.
UPDATE: The numbers are in for Round 1 and it’s the second highest combined total viewership for the draft, second only to last year. A combined 8.84 million viewers tuned in with 7.02 million on ESPN and 1.82 million on NFL Network.