NFL Draft 2019 Draws Historic 47.5M Viewership, 600k Nashville Attendance

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistApril 29, 2019

Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray poses with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell after the Arizona Cardinals selected Murray in the first round at the NFL football draft, Thursday, April 25, 2019, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
Mark Humphrey/Associated Press

The NFL announced 47.5 million people tuned in on television over the three days of the 2019 draft, and the event itself brought in 600,000 fans.

Ben Strauss of the Washington Post noted it's the "highest-rated and most-watched draft" in league history.

Viewership increased by 5 percent over 2018, which can in large part be attributed to ABC broadcasting the festivities. ABC, ESPN and NFL Network each had concurrent broadcasts for all seven rounds for the first time ever.

The ABC broadcast averaged 4.5 million viewers, an increase from the 3.7 million who tuned in on Fox in 2018.

"The 2019 NFL draft was a tremendous continuation of the celebration of the NFL's 100th season and an opportunity to welcome the next generation of stars," NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said. "Dramatic and emotional storylines played out in cities across the country with the energetic host city of Nashville serving as a breathtaking backdrop to hundreds of thousands of passionate fans who lined the streets and enjoyed a unique NFL draft experience."

The league has found success turning the draft into a must-watch spectacle, particularly since taking the event on the road. New York City hosted the draft from 1965 to 2014 before the league took it to Chicago in 2015 and 2016, Philadelphia in 2017 and Arlington in 2018.

Turning the draft into an "experience" for fans has been a major moneymaker for the NFL in terms of drawing bids from cities, and the increased viewership is a good sign for negotiating television rights. The draft will head to Las Vegas in 2020, where the NFL will no doubt find a raucous crowd.