NFL Draft Outdraws NBA Finals, Oscars

12.52 million viewers tuned in Thursday for the first round of the NFL Draft. The average combines viewing on ESPN (6.48 million), ABC (4.19 million), and NFL Network (1.85 million).

The draft did not reach last year’s 15.6 million viewers, to which it was never going. The 2020 Draft set a record-high as the first major sports-related event in the early days of the pandemic when Americans were stuck at home. That said, Thursday night was undoubtedly a win for the NFL. 12.52 million is the second-highest average in draft history.

While all TV programs are declining, it’s only those that aggressively spread woke social justice messaging that are collapsing. Today’s numbers are more proof of that.

For context, the draft rather easily topped both the Oscars (9.85 million viewers) and this year’s NBA Finals (7.45 million), both of which tanked to unimaginable lows.

To the credit of the NFL, ESPN, and NFL Network — the draft, at least in the first round, was about one thing: football. The country needed that, the NFL Draft provided that.

Other ratings for the night include 144,000 for the Nets-Pacers on NBA TV; 3 million for Tucker Carlson Tonight, highlighted by an interview with Rudy Giuliani; the Rachel Maddow Show’s 2.6 million; and Young Sheldon‘s 7.34 million on CBS.

For more draft coverage, read OutKick’s recap and Day 1 winners and losers now.

Written by Bobby Burack

Bobby Burack covers media, politics, and sports at OutKick.


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  1. While the entire NFL wishes they could ‘Brady-Proof’ the superbowl, Tommy and Bruce Arians could be in the football lab working on a plan to score 50 points a game while giving up 10.

    Brady’s 2007 Pats team lost in the superbowl, but barely. You could argue that the perfect team of 2007 was let down by Bill Bellicheats defense.

    the Bucs right now don’t need to draft players for need, they can just choose the fastest or strongest or biggest dudes and tell them to fit in with the show.

    i wonder what Mad Football Science is coming from the Bruce Brady Regime as the rest of the league tries to become Patrick Mahomes one man show.

    • The 2007 Patriots scored 14 points in the Super Bowl while giving up 17. They most certainly weren’t let down by the defense. It was the OLine and the Giants dominating DLine that won the game. Bellicheat? Come on, you can’t be that gullible.

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