NFL Draft: ESPN, NFL Network, Combine For Over Eight Million Viewers


The 2012 NFL Draft attracted a near-record audience on ESPN and the NFL Network.

ESPN drew 6.661 million viewers for first round coverage of the NFL Draft Thursday night, according to Nielsen fast-nationals, up 11% from last year (6.003M), but down 9% compared to 2010 (7.290M).

This marks the second-most viewed NFL Draft telecast on record (dating back to 1983), behind only 2010.

Concurrent first round coverage on NFL Network drew 1.4 million viewers, up 38% from last year (1.044M).

Combined, the two networks earned 8.1 million viewers for the first round, up from seven million last year, but down from a record 8.3 million in 2010.

For some perspective, the 2011 NBA Draft (first and second round) drew 3.202 million viewers on ESPN, and the 2011 NHL Draft (first round) drew 246,000 viewers on what was then known as Versus.

(Thursday’s numbers from ESPN Media Zone, NFL Communications)