WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- Amidst the coronavirus pandemic, the NFL decided to hold its annual draft through broadcast and online platforms.
- The NFL’s full virtual draft pick event was the first time in the league’s history, as many Americans are staying at home due to the pandemic.
- Viewership reached a peak of 19.6 million views, surpassing all the records of all major sporting events since last year.
As most Americans stayed at home amidst the COVID-19 outbreak, the online and TV event of the yearly National Football League (NFL) draft reach a record-breaking 19.6 million views last week.
The total number of views reached a 37 percent upsurge as compared to the previous year’s viewership.
According to Nielsen Media Research, this year’s draft attracted an average of 15.6 million virtual audiences on its first three nights, peaking by Thursday as the league’s patrons viewed the first-round picks earlier advertised on NFL Network, ESPN, ESPN Deportes, and ABC.
Compared to the previous year’s draft with a total of 11.4 million at its peak, the number this time jumped by more than 4 million.
Relatively, the statistics of this year’s draft also outdid the number of views from key sporting events from last year, before coronavirus measures were ordered across the U.S.
Last year, activities such as NBA Finals’ Game 1 peaked at 13.6 million, while 2019 World Series’ Game 1 reached 12.2 million viewers.
It was earlier projected by sports analysts that there would be high viewership for the NFL draft as most of the other professional sports associations are on a temporary hiatus until further notice.
The draft event entirely presented virtually for the first time in the history of the league, showed NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell calling picks from his basement office.
Meanwhile, the one first-round pick, Henry Ruggs of the University of Alabama, was on his bathrobe, when being chosen by the Las Vegas Raiders.
Louisiana State University’s (LSU) quarterback, Joe Burrow, got the first pick overall courtesy of the Cincinnati Bengals.
Burrow, the 2019 Heisman Trophy winner, was native of Ohio.
The NFL plans to start is 2020 season by September, and the league is considering the possibility of a compressed schedule or even having games on a totally or partially empty stadiums because of the coronavirus outbreak.
Source: The Hill