UPDATE, 12:26 PM: The final scores for Day 1 of the big pick are in and it’s a Bronze for ESPN this year. Day 1 of the NFL Draft drew 7.03 million total viewers and a 4.5 rating among Adults 18-49 last night. That’s the third best Draft Day 1 has done since it was first broadcast by ESPN in 1980. It is also a 29% fall in viewership and a 26% drop among the key demo from the all-time high of last year. The second best result ever for the big night was back in 2010 when the Denver Broncos picked up Tim Tebow with 7.29 million watching and a 4.6 rating.
The peak of last night’s Day 1 broadcast was a 5.4 rating and 8.44 million viewers at around 8:30-9 PM when the number 6 to 8 picks were announced. Worth noting, when you put the surge of 2014 aside, compared to 2013, 2012 and 2011’s NFL Draft Day 1, last night’s airing was up 9%, 2% and 18% respectively. The NFL Draft continues tonight and tomorrow.
PREVIOUS, 8:24 AM: It was a packed house at Chicago’s Roosevelt University yesterday for pro football’s big day of picks, but ESPN didn’t get anywhere near the eyeballs of last year. The 8–11:30 PM broadcast of the first day of the 2015 NFL Draft got a 5.1 in metered market ratings according to Nielsen. Jameis Winston, Heisman winner Marcus Mariota and Dante Fowler were the top three picks, but the cable sports giant took a hit of 25% down from what the 2014 NFL Draft Day 1 snagged. Occurring in May for the first time and with its own extra drama of the fate of 2012 Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel, the 2014 result was a record-breaker that scored better than any previous year since ESPN started telecasting the draft in 1980. Facing NHL and NBA playoffs like last night, last year’s ratings shattered the previous 2010 high of 5.4 in MM results.
When the final numbers came in last year, ESPN pulled in a record 9.943 million viewers and a 6.1 rating among Adults 18-49 for Day 1 of the 2014 NFL Draft. Day 1 of the 2013 NFL Draft got a 4.8 in MM ratings, while 2012 garnered a 4.6 and 2011 received a 4.3 result.
Last night’s broadcast peaked at a 6.2 MM rating at around 8:45–9 PM as the N.Y. Jets picked USC’s Leonard Williams and the Chicago Bears chose West Virginia’s Kevin White. We’ll update with more numbers from the 2015 NFL Draft later but in the meantime, the Top 10 MM for last night’s picks were Cleveland (11.4), New Orleans (8.6), Philadelphia (8.0), Columbus, Ohio (7.4), Birmingham, Ala. (7.4), Tampa-St. Petersburg (6.8), Greensboro, N.C. (6.7), Norfolk, Va. (6.6), Charlotte (6.4) and Baltimore (6.4).
BTW – if you didn’t know, the 2015 NFL Draft continues to May 2.