The first ever virtual NFL Draft turned out to be the most-watched in the event's history, as the league announced on Sunday it drew a record average of 8.4 million television viewers over the three-day selection process.
The average audience marked a 35 per cent increase over the draft's previous high of 6.2 million viewers set in 2019, according to the NFL and Nielsen. Each day of the event set a new viewership record as well, with Thursday's first round drawing an average of 15.6 million viewers.
Day one saw a 37 per cent increase compared to 2019, with Friday's day two generating a 40 per cent increase over the previous year and Saturday's final day drawing 32 per cent more viewers than 2019. Day two saw an average of 8.2 million viewers and day three averaged 4.2 million.
"I couldn't be more proud of the efforts and collaboration of our clubs, league personnel, and our partners to conduct an efficient draft and share an unforgettable experience with millions of fans during these uncertain times," NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement. "This draft is the latest chapter in the NFL's storied history of lifting the spirit of America and unifying people."
Additionally, the NFL announced that its online telethon for coronavirus relief, the NFL Draft-A-Thon LIVE, averaged 5.4 million daily viewers and raised over $100million.
"In addition to celebrating the accomplishments of so many talented young men, we were pleased that this unique draft helped shine a light on today's true heroes – the healthcare workers, first responders, and countless others on the front lines in the battle against COVID-19," Goodell said.
"We are also grateful to all those who contributed to the NFL family's fundraising efforts."