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2021 NFL Draft Viewership Down, But Still Top 3 All Time

Awful Announcing notes that while there was a year-over-year decline from 2020, numbers were extremely close to 2019’s 6.2 million, making this year the third-most watch draft.

Kate Constable

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Between Trevor Lawrence, Kyle Pitts and Ja’Marr Chase, the 2021 NFL Draft was filled will star-studded talent that viewers couldn’t wait to see selected.

According to Awful Announcing, Thursday night’s broadcast of the first round drew the second-highest viewership ever with 12.52 million viewers, while the entire three-day event saw an average of 6.1 million viewers across TV and streaming platforms, including ABC, ESPN, NFL Network, ESPN Deportes and digital channels.

Last year’s draft took the cake in terms of viewership with fans watching while stuck at home and most all other sporting events canceled. It drew an average of 15.6 million on day one and 8.2 million throughout the three days, setting a new record.

Awful Announcing notes that while there was a year-over-year decline from 2020, numbers were extremely close to 2019’s 6.2 million, making this year the third-most watch draft.

A release from the NFL notes that this is the third-straight year Disney has worked with the NFL to provide a multi-network presentation of the NFL Draft for all seven rounds. Awful Announcing adds that while this year’s draft was the third most-watched draft, it’s important to note the broadcast setup of all rounds on ESPN, ABC, and NFL Network has really only been consistent for the past three years.

The NFL also mentioned that “digitally, the 2021 NFL Draft delivered an AMA of 261K across NFL O&O, ESPN, ESPN Deportes and ABC platforms – up +36% vs. 2019 (192K).”

Sports TV News

After Losing Out On Big Ten Rights, ESPN Turns Focus to NCAA Championships

According to Front Office Sports, ESPN’s contract for 29 NCAA Championships ends in 2024.

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After reportedly losing out on the Big Ten’s television rights, ESPN is reportedly turning to securing the NCAA Championship rights from hitting the open market.

According to Front Office Sports, ESPN’s contract for 29 NCAA Championships ends in 2024. Those 29 championships include everything from Women’s basketball to ice hockey, wrestling, softball, and baseball. The network pays a reported $34 million for the rights to broadcast those championship events.

However, according to a study commissioned by the NCAA reveals that the women’s basketball tournament could be worth anywhere from $81 million to $112 million per year by its lonesome. The NCAA is reportedly considering selling the women’s basketball tournament rights as a standalone product in the next negotiation.

Sources told Front Office Sports ESPN remains interested in striking deals with the Pac-12 and Big 12 media rights, as well as renewing a deal for the College Football Playoff.

The news comes after Sports Business Journal’s John Ourand reported ESPN declined a final offer from the Big Ten for a portion of the conference’s media rights. The reported deal was seven years and $380 million per year.

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Sports TV News

ESPN Announces The Return of Stephen A. Smith to First Take

ESPN announced Smith will be returning to First Take on Monday, August 15th.

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Stephen A. Smith

First Take has been without it’s anchor since the day after the NBA Draft in June. That’s when the ESPN personality took some time off to undergo shoulder surgery and to rehabilitate. However, it appears the wait for his return is almost over.

ESPN announced with a tweet that Smith will be returning to First Take on Monday, August 15th. They also teased a guest appearance from Michael Irvin.

This comes a day after Smith tweeted that the countdown was on for his return and we are one week away from the event.

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Sports TV News

Field Yates Re-Ups With ESPN

After the departure of Matthew Berry to NBC, ESPN has locked down fantasy expert Field Yates with a new contract to remain in Bristol.

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Field Yates

After the departure of Matthew Berry to NBC, ESPN has locked down fantasy expert Field Yates with a new contract to remain in Bristol.

Yates, 35, would have been a valuable target for FanDuel or DraftKings, surmises Andrew Marchand of The New York Post — who first reported the news — due to his large following on Twitter.

Yates, who also works as a host of Fantasy Football Now and NFL Insider for the network, across multiple platforms including ESPN Radio, will continue in those roles in addition to an assumed expansion of fantasy football duties after Berry’s exit.

He has worked for ESPN since 2012.

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