The 2021 NFL Draft wound up being the third most-watched annual event in the league’s storied history, according to a news release by NFL Communications.
Per the release, an average of 6.1 million viewers watched the Cleveland-hosted draft, which is right in line with 2019’s total (6.2 million). Most notably, comparing those two years, the average minute streaming audience for the 2021 NFL Draft was 261,000, which is up by 39% from 2019.
It’s obvious that live streaming is becoming a more prevalent way for viewers to watch their favorite events, and the NFL capitalized on the options that media provides in cross-hosting the draft across multiple digital platforms to great success. The draft saw a 41% increase from 2019 in streaming, with 8.9 million total views on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok and the ESPN app.
2021 NFL Draft ratings: How intrigue lasted through all three days
Typically, viewership numbers and NFL Draft ratings take a drastic fall after the first-round action wraps on Day 1. While that’s always going to be the inevitable case, interest in what happened in the final six rounds was still high enough to continue drawing troves of fans as they watched their teams fill out the rest of their rookie classes.
Trevor Lawrence headlined the draft as the No. 1 overall pick of the Jacksonville Jaguars, and two other quarterbacks in the New York Jets’ Zach Wilson and new San Francisco 49ers signal-caller Trey Lance went right after him.
Since that trio kicked off the festivities, and two other QBs went in the first round (Justin Fields, 11th to the Chicago Bears and Mac Jones, 15th to the New England Patriots), plenty of strong prospects fell further in the draft than they would’ve if it wasn’t such a strong quarterback year.
Speaking of which, thanks to a run of three signal-callers being selected within four picks on Day 2, the 2021 NFL Draft set a record with eight QBs picked inside the first three rounds. Kyle Trask went to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to be Tom Brady‘s eventual successor, while the Minnesota Vikings landed Kellen Mond and the Houston Texans drafted Davis Mills.
The NFL Draft continues to generate tons of interest and has only grown in prominence over the last few years. It’s a huge boon to pro football’s popularity, and why the NFL offseason can still dominate major sports headlines even when games aren’t being played.
After so many organizations acquiring new faces of their respective franchises, we can expect to see some strong NFL TV ratings for the 2021 season.