When it comes to sports, the television landscape has been pretty barren over the past month, but that changed on Thursday when the 2020 NFL Draft kicked off. We finally had sports to watch, and football fans around the country were clearly clamoring for that, because after all was said and done, the first round of the draft ended up smashing the record for highest-rated draft of all-time.
According to information from the NFL, the average audience during the Round 1 of the draft was 15.6 million, which was a 37 percent increase over the average audience from last year's (11.4 million). More impressively, the viewership number was a 26 percent increase over the 2014 NFL Draft -- aka, the Johnny Manziel draft -- which produced an average audience of 12.4 million viewers that stood as the record until Thursday night. The average viewership was tallied based on the number of combined viewers from ABC, ESPN and NFL Network, which all televised the draft.
The viewership number for the draft peaked between 8:45 p.m. ET and 9 p.m. ET, when the Dolphins were on the clock. A total of 19.6 million people were watching when Miami decided to use their first first-round pick on Tua Tagovailoa.
The draft, which was held virtually for the first time in league history, was hosted by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, who announced every pick from his basement while getting booed by fans on the internet.
The draft was especially popular in the state of Ohio this year as the top three cities from a viewership standpoint were all in the Buckeye State. Although the Bengals had the top pick, which they used on Joe Burrow, Cincinnati actually didn't rank as the city with the highest viewership numbers. Instead, that honor went to Columbus.
Here's a look at the top-five cities that had the highest ratings during the first round of the draft.
1. Columbus, Ohio (16.7)
2. Cleveland (15.9)
3. Cincinnati (15.6)
4. Philadelphia (15.1)
5. Kansas City (14.3)
Round 2 of the draft starts at 7 p.m. ET on the same networks that hosted the record-breaking first round.