Kyler Murray at the 2019 NFL draft.

The TV numbers are in for the first round of the NFL draft, and they’re pretty close to what we saw in 2018, but with a slight overall decline. Sports Business Journal‘s John Ourand has the numbers:

For reference, here’s Ourand’s similar breakdown from last year:

So ABC’s College GameDay-themed coverage did better than Fox’s simulcast of the NFL Network coverage, but ESPN’s traditional coverage still won the night (albeit with less viewers than last year). And NFL Network’s numbers went down.

Of course, though, some of that may be about the much larger uncertainty last year about the first overall pick; last year, eventual number one pick Baker Mayfield was considered a surprising #1 candidate by many even early in the day, while there was a pretty strong consensus that Kyler Murray would go first overall this year (albeit with a possible trade). And these numbers are still pretty close to what we saw last year.

The big takeaway here is that some sort of broadcast network coverage of the draft (the first round in particular) is likely here to stay. Last year’s 3.7 million extra viewers on Fox were a good step there, and this year’s 4.5 million on ABC is further proof that there’s a significant viewership that will come in for this if it’s carried on broadcast. And those numbers are probably big enough to make it worthwhile for the networks in their own right, and certainly big enough when you add in their desire to keep a good relationship with the NFL. So we’ll likely see broadcast coverage of the draft for years to come.

[John Ourand on Twitter]

About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.