With an assist from top prospect Johnny Manziel’s fall into the end of the night, ESPN netted a record 9.9 million viewers for its coverage of Thursday night’s first round of the 2014 NFL Draft.
The 9.9 million, the most for any NFL draft telecast in ESPN history, was up 60% from last year’s first round coverage. This year’s telecast ranks as the sixth highest-rated event of 2014 behind only the five Bowl Championship Series college football games on ESPN.
The draft was moved back from its usual late-April spot on the calendar to early May.
NFL Network also carried the first round on Thursday and will release numbers later on Friday.