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Cincinnati and Cleveland boost ESPN’s Highest-Rated NFL Draft Telecast Since 1993

The top-10 metered markets for ESPN’s three days of NFL Draft coverage included Columbus, Ohio (4.1), Cleveland (5.6) and Cincinnati (4.0).

David Manning-USA TODAY Sports
If you were watching the 2014 NFL Draft on ESPN, you were part of the network’s highest-rated NFL Draft telecast since 1993, according to the Nielsen Company. The telecast also saw significant increases in both ratings and viewership over the 2013 event.

The Cincinnati Bengals and Cleveland Browns likely had a large viewership with the top-10 metered markets for ESPN’s three days of draft coverage included four cities fro the state of Ohio, including Columbus, Ohio (4.1), Cleveland (5.6), Dayton (4.2) and Cincinnati (4.0).

New Orleans (5.6 rating), Cleveland (5.6), Birmingham, Ala. (5.3), Buffalo (4.8), Greenville, S.C. (4.8), Houston (4.5), Austin (4.1) were the others in the top-10.

The 15-plus hours on ESPN and ESPN2 delivered a 2.7 US rating, a 31 percent gain from 2013 (2.1) and a 35 percent increase from 2012 (2.0). The average viewership of 4,121,000 viewers is a 36 percent gain over 2013 (3,035,000) and a 41 percent increase over 2012 (2,924,000). All key male and adult demos were also up double digits from the previous two years.
Rounds 4-7 / Day 3 (Saturday)
ESPN's 7.5 hours of coverage (12-7:35 p.m. ET) on ESPN delivered a 1.5 US rating, a 36 percent increase over last year's coverage (1.1 US), while viewership averaged 1,962,000, pacing 22 percent ahead of 2013 (1,610,000).
Rounds 2-3 / Day 2 (Friday)
ESPN's one hour of coverage (7-7:59 p.m. ET) delivered a 2.2 US rating and 3,155,000 viewers, based on fast nationals, while ESPN2's remaining 3.5 hours (7:59-11:25 p.m.) delivered a 1.8 US rating and 2,693,000 viewers. Together, the two networks averaged a 1.9 US rating and 2,796,000 viewers, equaling the 2013 rating and a three percent gain in viewership from last year’s second and third rounds on ESPN and ESPN2 (2,727,000 viewers).
Round 1 / Day 1 (Thursday)
ESPN’s first round coverage of the NFL Draft averaged 9,943,000 viewers with a 6.1 US rating based on fast nationals, making it the most-viewed NFL Draft telecast in ESPN’s 35 years of presenting the event. The Thursday telecast ranks as the sixth highest-rated event of 2014.