NFL Draft Shatters TV Ratings Record With 15.6 Million Viewers on First Night

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The NFL had a record-setting night on Thursday when an average audience of 15.6 million viewers watched the first round of the draft.

People tuned in to broadcasts on ABC, ESPN, NFL Network, ESPN Deportes and digital channels to watch the draft during the quarantine. The league announced Thursday's ratings broke the previous record of 12.4 million viewers in 2014. 

The ratings were also on its second and third days, with an average audience of 8.2 million viewers on Friday night, up 40%, and an average audience of 4.2 million viewers on Saturday.

The virtual draft went off without a hitch as commissioner Roger Goodell announced each team's picks from his home. The draft broadcast included live streams from players' homes, allowing fans to see their reactions when hearing their names called.

The Bengals selected quarterback Joe Burrow with the No. 1 pick, while Tua Tagovailoa and Justin Herbert also were drafted in the top 10. The trade machine began shortly after the first 10 picks.

Tampa Bay moved up one spot from No. 14 to No. 13 to snag offensive tackle Tristan Wirfs to protect Tom Brady. The Patriots went in the other direction, trading the No. 23 pick to the Chargers for second and third-round picks. 

There's plenty more draft activity to take place over the weekend, with Rounds 2 and 3 airing Friday night. The final four rounds will be held on Saturday afternoon.