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NFL draft gives Las Vegas targets for crowd, TV ratings

Updated April 29, 2019 - 6:38 am

The NFL draft drew record numbers both on site and on television.

The league said Monday that more than 600,000 attended over the three days in Nashville, easily eclipsing the 250,000 that came to watch two years ago in Philadelphia.

Nielsen reports that the draft on ESPN, ABC and NFL Network averaged 6.1 million viewers at any given time over the three days. The draft averaged 5.5 million viewers last year, which was the first time all seven rounds were on broadcast television.

The average numbers were up despite the ratings for Thursday’s first round being flat. The combined average for the three networks was 11.1 million, which was down from last year’s 11.2 million. The ABC broadcast averaged 4.5 million, which was up 21 percent from last year’s 3.7 million that watched on Fox.

“By every metric — from the hundreds of thousands of fans who filled the streets of Nashville to the record-breaking ratings and viewership — this event was an unqualified success,” Peter O’Reilly, the NFL’s executive vice president for club business and league events, said in an email.

Next year’s draft will take place in Las Vegas and will be the first significant event hosted by the Raiders in their new home city. The Raiders will play their final season in Oakland this year before moving to Nevada.

The Raiders concluded the draft with five selections Saturday, starting with three picks in the fourth round.

The Arizona Cardinals started the draft on Thursday night by making Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray the first pick.

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