The NFL draft was chalked full of good drama this year. Laremy Tunsil slid down the draft boards due to a possible inside smear campaign, Myles Jack also slipped due to possible injury concerns and the Cleveland Browns were actually doing smart things. It made for entertaining television, evident by ESPN announcing the 2016 Draft was the seventh most-watched since 1994.
Overall on ESPN/ESPN2, the draft pulled in strong numbers for the three-day broadcast, averaging 3.02 million viewers (up from 2.93 million last year), while pulling a 2.0 US household rating, (slightly up from last year’s 1.9 rating). Viewers broke records on the WatchESPN app (which is becoming the norm as time goes by), as it was the most-viewed Draft both overall and during each day on the platform. Including WatchESPN’s numbers with the TV broadcast, ESPN averaged more than 3.1 million viewers, up from last year’s average, which was just shy 3.0 million between both platforms.
A mix of NFL and college markets flooded the top five for viewership. Cleveland (6.3) and Columbus (6.2) both posted the highest ratings by far during the three-day TV coverage, while New Orleans (4.0), Dayton (4.0), and Jacksonville (3.7) rounded out the top five. Three out of the top four in Ohio? I wonder if that’s because of Buckeye fever, or Browns fever.
Round 1 on Thursday averaged 6.289 million viewers and a 3.9 rating. Rounds 2 and 3 on Friday averaged 2.26 million viewers and a 1.5 rating. Rounds 4-7 on Saturday pulled a.1705 million viewers and a 1.2 rating.