ESPN Scores Big Primetime Audience for NFL Draft

By Andrew Gauthier 

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Primetime was certainly the right time for the NFL Draft.

The pro football league’s 75th annual college player selection event scored an average viewership of 8.3 million viewers on ESPN and NFL Network, according to Nielsen data. The record audience came as the NFL split the draft into three segments, with its first-round picks kicking off at 7:30 p.m. (ET) and then occupying the remainder of East Coast primetime for the first time in its history.

The combined average viewership represented a 33% gain over last year’s draft, which averaged 6.3 million from 4 p.m. through 7:30 p.m. on Saturday April 25, 2009, and a 41% advance from the 5.9 million from the 2008 event, which aired on a Saturday from 3 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. More…