Without any of the big skill positions featured among the top picks (i.e. seven offensive linemen going early) and no real interest in who was going No. 1 overall, the NFL Draft saw overall viewership declines from 2012, when RGIII vs. Andrew Luck fever swept the nation, or something.
ESPN drew 6.19 million viewers for the 2013 ceremony's first round, down seven percent from last year's first round (6.66 million). The telecast is still the third-most watched NFL Draft first round of the four that have aired in primetime since 2010. The local markets with the most interest were Buffalo (10.3), New Orleans (8.8), Kansas City (8.4), Baltimore (7.6), Dayton (7.4), Milwaukee (7.2), Cincinnati (6.8), Cleveland (6.6) and Minneapolis-St. Paul (6.5).
NFL Network, however, saw slight gains for their first-round coverage. The league-owned channel drew 1.5 million viewers, up seven percent. While this is far away from what ESPN regularly gets, it continues another year of gains for the draft on NFL Net. Coverage in 2012 drew 1.4 million, while 2011 saw just one million even. NFL Network added 12 million homes to its distribution over the past year.
7.7 million viewers watched the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft between the two networks, down from 8.1 million for 2012.