The first round of the NFL Draft saw a spike in viewership compared to 2023. The league touted the increase in a statement. Photo Credit: Eric Seals / USA TODAY NETWORK NFL draft in Detroit. Photo Credit: Eric Seals / USA TODAY NETWORK

The first round of the NFL Draft saw a spike in viewership compared to 2023.

In a release from NFL Communications, the league detailed the specifics of the increase.

“Round 1 coverage of the 2024 NFL Draft in Detroit was seen by an average audience of 12.1 million viewers (TV+Digital) last night across ESPN, NFL Network, ABC, ESPN Deportes and digital channels – up +6% versus Round 1 of the 2023 NFL Draft (11.4 million) and the highest Round 1 viewership since 2021,” the release said.

It added, “Thursday night’s coverage of Round 1 had a total unduplicated audience of 34.3 million viewers – the highest since 2021.”

It makes sense. Three big market teams drafting players at the sport’s most prominent position certainly helps increase attention to the event.

As was the case in 2021 — when Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence went first overall — signal callers dominated the first round in 2024. Like 2021, the first three picks were used on quarterbacks, with the Chicago Bears taking USC quarterback Caleb Williams, the Washington Commanders taking LSU quarterback Jayden Daniels and the New England Patriots selecting North Carolina quarterback Drake Maye. Additionally, Williams and Daniels were both Heisman Trophy winners.

The release also touted the draft attendance figure, saying “On Thursday night, more than 275,000 fans attended Round 1 in Detroit, breaking the all-time Day One Draft record of 200,000 set by Nashville in 2019.​”


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