Continuing a recent resurgence for the NBA Draft, ESPN again earned its second-largest audience for the event.
The 2013 NBA Draft earned a 2.0 U.S. rating and almost 3.0 million viewers on ESPN Thursday night, up a tick in ratings and 1% in viewership from last year (1.9, 3.0M), but down 5% and 6%, respectively, from 2011 (2.1, 3.2M).
Thursday’s telecast ranks as the second-most viewed NBA Draft ever on ESPN, trailing only 2011. The last three NBA Draft telecasts have been the most-viewed on ESPN since the network began airing the event in 2003.
For some perspective, the 2003 NBA Draft — which featured LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, and Dwyane Wade — earned 2.8 million viewers on ESPN. That draft ranks at least fifth since ESPN took over the rights, trailing the past three years and 2008 (2.9M).
Though the numbers increased overall, the NBA Draft shed viewers under 50. Among adults 18-49, the telecast had a 1.3 rating — down a tick from last year (1.4), and down 13% from 2011 (1.5).
In addition, the NBA Draft continued to trail its much-hyped NFL counterpart. The three-day NFL Draft averaged just under 4.0 million viewers across ESPN and NFL Network, with first round coverage scoring 7.7 million.
(Thu. numbers from ESPN)