Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel poses for photos after being selected by the Cleveland Browns as the 22nd pick in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft

NFL draft shatters viewership record

NFL Draft: Manziel's wait is a huge draw for television viewership

By Barry Wilner, The Associated Press

NEW YORK – If the NFL needs proof of the popularity of a May draft, it now has 32 million reasons why it worked this year.

First-round coverage of the draft on ESPN and NFL Network drew a combined total viewership of 32 million viewers, based on at least one minute of viewing. That makes it the most-viewed Round 1 ever, according to The Nielsen Company.

The 32 million is up 28 per cent over last year’s 25.0 million.

“Thank you, fans, for making last night the most watched draft in our history,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said at the start of Friday night’s second round.

The combined ESPN and NFLN coverage also averaged a record 12.4 million viewers, easily ranking at the top, ahead of the 8.3 million in 2010. It was the most-watched program on cable TV and the second-most watched program on television Thursday night.

Because Radio City Music Hall was not available for the usual late April time slot, the league moved the draft back two weeks. Considering the number of viewers, keeping it in May is a distinct possibility.

League owners would have to approve such a move. Their next meeting is May 19-20 in Atlanta, followed by the fall meeting in October.

Much of the interest Thursday night came from having such college stars as Jadeveon Clowney and Johnny Manziel in the draft. Clowney was the first overall pick by the Houston Texans, but 2012 Heisman Trophy winner Manziel had to wait until the 22nd spot before going to Cleveland.

It was an excruciating wait for Johnny Football, but great theatre that clearly kept TV viewers interested.

And when the Texas A&M quarterback final was taken, the draft was nearly three hours old. The audience had been captivated for the entire time.

On digital media platforms, the draft drew more than 14 million visits, an increase of 54 per cent from last year.

___

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP_NFL

Just Posted

‘Listen to your body:’ Saanich woman fights to have breast implants removed

Woman struggles to find doctor to remove Allergan textured implants, recently linked to rare cancer

Police find shoes, backpack of the man found dead in Saanich

Officers credit public’s help, continue to seek information

Victoria Police seize drugs, replica firearms and $50,000 in cash after searching Victoria home

A property in the 600-block of Manchester Avenue is focus of investigation

Saanich approves new eight- and 11-storey residence buildings for UVic

Residents also supported the environmentally friendly residences

Federal government funds 60 ‘micro-loft’ rental units set to open on Fort Street

The Sawyer Block at 840 Fort St. will house affordable units and a small amount of retail space

VIDEO: Come along for the ride on Tour de Victoria

Reporter captures video footage of his Tour de Victoria ride

POLL: Should there be a ban on gas-powered leaf blowers?

We’ve all heard them, and most likely cursed them under our breath.… Continue reading

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of Aug. 23

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Bodies of two missing Surrey men found near Ashcroft

Ryan Provencher and Richard Scurr have been missing since July 17

Pile of wood mulch ‘spontaneously combusts’ at Vancouver Island industrial site

Business owner thanks fire department for quick response

Five hedgehogs quickly adopted after being left at BC SPCA

Lucky new owners picked up their pets from Maple Ridge branch on Aug. 20

B.C. cricket players get interrupted by racist remark

Community has had protocols in place for years to respond to prejudice

Groovy B.C. wedding a throwback to Woodstock ‘69

Couple hosts themed wedding 50 years after legendary festival

Most Read