First night of NFL draft draws record 15.6 million viewers

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UNDATED (AP) - The first night of the NFL draft averaged a record 15.6 million viewers on television, easily shattering the record set six years ago.

Thursday night's first round was aired on ABC, ESPN, the NFL Network and ESPN Deportes. The coverage peaked from 8:45-9 p.m. EDT when 19.6 million viewers tuned in, according to Nielsen. That is up 37% over last year's 11.4 million.

The previous high was 12.4 million in 2014, when the draft was held in early May.

The draft was the first live U.S. sporting event since the coronavirus pandemic. The draft originally was to be held in Las Vegas but is taking place virtually.