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ESPN and NFL Network catch high ratings with Round 1 of draft

ESPN and NFL Network catch high ratings with Round 1 of draft

The NFL draft: it's not just a sorting of incoming pro football players, it's a TV event. ESPN and NFL Network drew big ratings again Thursday night with their telecast of the first round of the NFL draft. According to Nielsen, an average of 7 million viewers tuned in to ESPN alone. That was down sharply from last year, when it snagged 9.9 million viewers. But Thursday nevertheless gave ESPN its third-biggest audience for the opening day of the draft in the 36 years it has carried the event. This year's telecast peaked between 5:30 to 6 p.m. Pacific time, when 8.4 million people were watching. Toss in the numbers from NFL Network, and the total rises to 8.8 million...

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