• Loading stock data...
Friday, July 19, 2024
Join us this September for Tuned In Request to Attend

NFL Draft’s First Round TV Viewership Plummets 20%

  • Down 34% from record ‘Virtual’ Draft during pandemic.
  • Lack of star QBs hurts TV interest this year.
NFL Draft
Syndication: USA TODAY

The NFL is a quarterback-driven league. With only one QB taken during Thursday night’s First Round coverage, the NFL Draft suffered a 20% drop in viewership, posting its least-watched first round since 2017. 

Thursday’s combined First Round coverage across the Walt Disney Co.’s ABC and ESPN and the league’s NFL Network averaged 10.03 million viewers, down 20% from last year’s 12.5 million, according to Sports TV Ratings and other reports. 

That number was off 34% from the record 15.3 million viewers who tuned in for 2020’s “virtual” Draft at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Despite the glamorous setting in Las Vegas, it was the lowest figure since the 9.2 million average viewers for ESPN and NFLN’s First Round coverage in 2017.

Thursday’s First Round didn’t feature QBs like Trevor Lawrence, Trey Lance, Joe Burrow, and Johnny Manziel, who’ve drawn viewers over the years.

Instead, NFL franchises went top-heavy on defensive picks. 

The first five selections were all defensive players: Georgia’s Travon Walker, Michigan’s Aidan Hutchinson, LSU’s Derek Stingley Jr., Cincinnati’s Ahmad Gardner, and Oregon’s Kayvon Thibodeaux.

Only one QB was selected: Kenny Pickett of the University of Pittsburgh, who the Pittsburgh Steelers selected with the 20th overall pick.

For the first time since 2014, there were no running backs taken in the First Round.

There were other reasons, too. Due to previous wheeling and dealing, eight franchises didn’t have First Round picks. Coverage also faced competition from NBA Playoff games.

Copy Link
Link Copied
Link Copied

What to Read

NBA’s Blockbuster Rights Deal Faces Uncertainty, Potential Legal Threats

League commissioner Adam Silver says many of the next steps are ‘out of my control.’

A ‘Seismic Shift’ for Women’s Sports: WNBA Lands $2.2 Billion Rights Deal

ESPN, Amazon, and NBC will pay the WNBA $200 million annually.

Manfred ‘Comfortable’ With A’s Move to Vegas Despite Funding Hurdles

Rob Manfred continues to back A’s owner John Fisher, even as concerns grow in Las Vegas and Sacramento.
podcast thumbnail mobile
Front Office Sports Today

‘EA Sports College Football 25’: It’s More Than a Game


Featured Today

Jan 7, 2024; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Calvin Ridley (0) reacts after scoring a touchdown against the Tennessee Titans during the first half at Nissan Stadium.
July 14, 2024

Without Hard-Line Bans, Pro Athletes and Personnel Will Keep Betting on Sports

Penalties often aren’t stringent or consistent enough to deter banned behavior.
Oct 2, 2021; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; NFL commissioner Roger Goddell speaks during the Don Shula Celebration of Life at Hard Rock Stadium.
July 13, 2024

The NFL Is Confident It Can Overturn the Sunday Ticket Verdict

The league may have good reason to believe it can win.
July 8, 2024

NFLPA Report Cards Have Become the ‘Talk of the Locker Room’ Across..

NFLPA report cards have become the ‘talk of the locker room.’

WBD at a Crossroads: NBA Rights Decision Could Determine Its Future

Financial analysts argue for a large-scale overhaul of the TNT Sports parent company.
July 18, 2024

Just Days to Go: NBA Media-Rights Ball Officially in TNT’s Court

TNT officially has the NBA media deals on its desk.
July 18, 2024

WNBA Appears Set to Extend Season to 44 Games in 2025

The Chicago Sky told season-ticket holders they ‘expect approval’ for change.

TopSpin 2K25 Brings the Legends of Tennis to Your Living Room

2K sports is reviving a classic with TopSpin 2K25.
July 18, 2024

NBA’s New Money Has Josh Hart Ready to ‘Play Until My Knees Fall Off’

Hart and Jalen Brunson recently appeared on ‘Front Office Sports Today.’
July 17, 2024

What the WNBA’s Windfall Could Mean for Player Salaries

The WNBA could hit its first million-dollar annual salary as soon as 2026.
July 17, 2024

WNBA Strikes It Rich With $2 Billion In Media-Rights Deals

The WNBA’s boom came at a perfect time.
July 16, 2024

Record Soccer Viewership in U.S. Despite Copa América’s Finish

The Euro 2024 final was Fox’s most-watched non–World Cup soccer broadcast ever.