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2020 NFL Draft most watched ever; sets new all-time highs for media consumption

Mon, Apr 27th 2020 06:20 pm

Reaching a total of more than 55 million viewers over 3-day event, average audience for 2020 NFL Draft grows 35% over 2019

To date, NFL family has raised more than $100 million to benefit COVID-19 relief efforts across country

The unique presentation of the 2020 NFL Draft established new all-time highs for media consumption in every category. With over 600 camera feeds from homes across the U.S., all telecasts of the 2020 NFL Draft reached more than 55 million total viewers across Nielsen-measured channels over the three-day event, up 16% vs. 2019. An average audience of over 8.4 million viewers watched all three days of the 2020 NFL Draft across ABC, ESPN, NFL Network, ESPN Deportes, and digital channels easily breaking the previous high of 6.2 million viewers in 2019 by 35%.

Each day of the 2020 NFL Draft established new highs as an average audience of over 15.6 million viewers watched round 1 on Thursday (up 37% vs. 2019), over 8.2 million viewers watched rounds 2 and 3 on Friday (up 40% vs. 2019), and over 4.2 million viewers watched rounds 4-7 on Saturday (up 32% vs. 2019).

All seven rounds of the 2020 NFL Draft were presented across ABC, ESPN and NFL Network – the second straight year The Walt Disney Company partnered with the National Football League to offer a multi-network presentation of the entire NFL Draft.

"I couldn't be more proud of the efforts and collaboration of our clubs, league personnel, and our partners to conduct an efficient draft and share an unforgettable experience with millions of fans during these uncertain times," NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said. "This draft is the latest chapter in the NFL's storied history of lifting the spirit of America and unifying people. In addition to celebrating the accomplishments of so many talented young men, we were pleased that this unique Draft helped shine a light on today's true heroes – the health care workers, first responders, and countless others on the front lines in the battle against COVID-19. We are also grateful to all those who contributed to the NFL family's fundraising efforts."

"This year's NFL Draft clearly took on a much greater meaning and it's especially gratifying for ESPN to have played a role in presenting this unique event to a record number of NFL fans while supporting the league's efforts to give back," ESPN President Jimmy Pitaro said. "The success of this year's draft is a testament to the unprecedented collaboration across the NFL, ESPN and The Walt Disney Co. in the midst of such a challenging time."

Top-10 metered markets across all networks included (rating in parenthesis) were: Columbus, Ohio (8.8), Cleveland (8.7), Philadelphia (8.6), Kansas City (8.5), Cincinnati (8.5), Atlanta (8.2), Jacksonville (8.1), Nashville (8.0), Milwaukee (7.8) and Denver/Baltimore (7.0).

With over 600 camera feeds in the homes of everyone from the commissioner, more than 85 draft prospects, 32 NFL head coaches, 32 NFL general managers, fans, college football coaches and many others, the 2020 NFL Draft offered unprecedented access to deliver the best possible experience for fans. To pull off this broadcast feat, the NFL utilized technology from partners such as AWS (hosting/managing video feeds), Verizon (provided Verizon phones and connectivity for remote locations), Microsoft (Microsoft teams assisted with all league to club and club to league communication for all draft selections), and Bose (provided best-in-class headphones for superior audio for all draft participants).

In addition to the telecast of the 2020 NFL Draft, an average of over 5.4 million daily viewers watched in excess of 46.7 million total minutes of "Draft-A-Thon LIVE," a massive fundraising campaign aimed at raising much-needed funds for COVID-19 relief efforts. “Draft-A-Thon LIVE” was presented all three days of the 2020 NFL Draft and available through NFL digital properties across devices (phone, PC, tablet and connected TVs) as well as a number of digital platforms including Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Twitch, TikTok, Reddit, TuneIn, Yahoo! Sports and more than 100 news websites via SendtoNews. Celebrities such as Kevin Hart, Blake Shelton, Jeff Daniels, DJ Khaled, Ninja, and Carli Lloyd joined dozens of current NFL players and legends and other stars to participate in “Draft-A-Thon LIVE.”

In addition to raising funds, “Draft-A-Thon LIVE” paid tribute to health care workers, first responders and others on the front lines of the battle with COVID-19. To date, the NFL family has raised more than $100 million in COVID-19 relief.

Funds raised during “Draft-A-Thon” will help support six national nonprofit organizations and their respective COVID-19 relief efforts. Fans can continue to donate at NFL.com/Relief.

At NFL.com/auction, fans can bid on autographed NFL items and exclusive packages to support COVID-19 relief, as well. The NFL does not retain any profits from the sale of these items or experiences. Charitable contributions are donated to the NFL's nonprofit partners.

Viewership metrics reflect Nielsen Fast Nationals, Nielsen Fast Total Audience Estimates, and NFL/ESPN/ABC digital measurement.

Back to Vegas

Goodell announced the NFL has recommitted to Las Vegas for the 87th annual NFL Draft in 2022. This comes after the 2020 public draft events in Las Vegas were cancelled due to COVID-19.

"I'm pleased to announce that Las Vegas will host the 2022 NFL Draft, where we look forward to holding an even bigger and better event than we could have ever imagined this year," Goodell said. "Congratulations to Las Vegas, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, the Raiders' organization and Raider Nation."

Steve Hill, CEO and president of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, said, "We're thrilled the NFL has given us the opportunity to host the draft in Las Vegas in 2022. While disappointed we were unable to bring this exciting event to life this year … we plan to make the 87th annual NFL Draft an ‘Only Vegas’ experience football fans will never forget."

The location plans previously announced for the 2020 Draft will remain in place for 2022. Additional elements and plans for the 2022 Draft will be revealed at a later date.

Caesars Entertainment, as the official casino sponsor of the NFL, will host the NFL Draft Main Stage, which will be constructed next to the Caesars Forum Conference Center.

Caesars Forum, located adjacent to the high roller observation wheel on the Las Vegas strip, will be host to “Selection Square.”

Located adjacent to the NFL Draft Main Stage, the NFL Draft Experience will be a free, three-day football festival highlighted by interactive games, the Vince Lombardi Trophy, autograph sessions with NFL players and legends, brand activations, giveaways and the NFL Shop presented by Visa.

The previously announced plans for the draft red carpet remain in place for 2022, with prospects ferried to and from the stage via boat on the famed Fountains of Bellagio.

For the most up to date information, visit www.NFL.com.

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