This year’s draft sees higher viewership than in recent years
Everyone, including NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, was nervous about the possible outcomes of the 2020 NFL Draft. Due to the current coronavirus pandemic, this year’s draft was held virtually, with each member from all football clubs participating in the Draft while connected from their homes, as per the NFL’s order. Fortunately, there were no reported issues whatsoever during this Draft, for which an average 8.4 million viewers left everything else besides engaging in this determining event for the franchises. The fan response from home was significantly higher than what had been seen last year.
The three days went by smoothly; even ESPN’s executive producer, Seth Markman, was said to be overwhelmed to see how everything developed over just three days for what is the most important offseason event in the league. It was truly a record-breaking number of viewers, according to the NFL, as well as Nielsen, with the Thursday recording an average of 15.6 million fans watching. The overall average for last year was only slightly above six million.
“I thought a coach or general manager might put a towel on the camera or point it another direction, but there were zero issues,” said Markman. “There were a couple of times that we lost a feed or two, but it quickly came back.”
More than just running things smoothly, people ended up having fun with this virtual draft. Most coaches and general managers welcomed their spouses of kids on camera while the draft was in process. Not to mention the fact that instead of just waiting in a green room, most participants were making their players’ pick sitting comfortably in their homes. “I thought coaches and general managers were going to lock themselves in a room and it was the opposite. Every time I looked up there was more family around,” Markman added. “I think it speaks to the coaches that when this is done, they can remember it is OK not to be in the office at all times.”