ESPN Delivers Total Live Audience of 6.9 Million Viewers for Round 1 of NFL Draft


ESPN Delivers Total Live Audience of 6.9 Million Viewers for Round 1 of NFL Draft

Television and Streaming Audiences Both Increase from 2016

ESPN delivered a total live audience of 6,924,000 viewers for its Thursday night telecast of Round 1 of the 2017 NFL Draft. Including streaming, this ranks as the fourth most-viewed Round 1 telecast on ESPN since the new primetime format began in 2010, and a seven percent increase over ESPN’s audience for round 1 in 2016 (6,487,000).

The NFL Draft on ESPN was the highest-rated telecast on Thursday night among all the key male demos (18-34, 18-49, 25-54), as well as adults 18-34 and 18-49. Additionally, the telecast helped ESPN win the night among all networks in households, viewers and all key male and adult demos

ESPN’s television and streaming audiences both increased from a year ago:

  • On TV, ESPN delivered 6,681,000 average viewers and a 4.0 US household rating, according to Nielsen Fast Nationals, increases of six percent (6,289,000 in 2016) and three percent (3.9 US rating), respectively.
  • ESPN live streaming attracted an additional average minute audience of 243,000 viewers, a 23 percent increase from last year (198,000 viewers). The telecast averaged 1,292,000 total unique viewers, a 66 percent gain year-over-year, and 54,259,000 total minutes, a 22 percent increase. Based on all three metrics this is the most-streamed telecast of the NFL Draft on record for ESPN across all rounds. Non-streaming digital usage (includes NFL content on, the homepage and the ESPN app) averaged 1,071,000 viewers in the average minute during the live window, a 89 percent surge over 2016.

On television, the telecast peaked in the 9-9:30 p.m. ET half hour with a 4.6 rating and 7,779,000 viewers.

For the fourth consecutive year, Cleveland was the highest-rated metered market for Round 1 on ESPN, averaging a 12.6. Philadelphia, the host city for this year’s NFL Draft, was the No. 2 rated market with a 9.1 – the highest rating in Philadelphia across all rounds of the NFL Draft on ESPN/ESPN2 since the new primetime format began in 2010. Remaining top-10 metered markets for ESPN’s coverage included Columbus, Ohio (9.0), Greenville, S.C. (8.7), Birmingham, Ala. (7.6), Dayton (7.6), Charlotte (6.9), New Orleans (6.9), Buffalo (6.8) and Norfolk, Va. (6.6).

The 2017 NFL Draft Continues on ESPN/ESPN2:

ESPN’s coverage of the 2017 NFL Draft continues from Philadelphia with rounds 2 and 3 this evening (7 p.m. ET on ESPN, 8 p.m. on ESPN2), and rounds 4-7 on Saturday, beginning at 12 p.m.


Bill Hofheimer

I oversee ESPN’s College Sports PR, while also working on ESPN soccer, Around the Horn, PTI and more. Previously oversaw communications for ESPN's Monday Night Football and NFL studio shows.
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