NFL draft ratings go way up, especially for its day two coverage

It’s always a little jarring to see how many people would rather tune in to the NFL draft than playoff games in other sports.

But it happens routinely. There might be no better measure of how far the NFL is ahead of every other sports league in popularity than how many people watch its draft.

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The NFL announced that the 2019 draft set records as the most-watched ever, beating the old record set ... just last year. The league said that across Nielsen-measured channels, all of its draft telecasts reached more than 47.5 million viewers over three days, up five percent from last year.

And this wasn’t even considered a stellar draft, as far as the star power of the prospects was concerned.

NFL draft ratings way up

The past few years the NFL didn’t have a tough time selling the draft. There were a lot of exciting quarterbacks and fantastic skill-position players like Saquon Barkley. This year’s draft had intrigue and Kyler Murray at the top, but the top of the draft was filled with good players who won’t matter to anyone’s fantasy teams, let’s say.

It didn’t matter. People tuned in. The NFL said there was an average of 6.1 million viewers across NFL, ESPN and ABC TV and digital channels.

The NFL draft, according to the league, had a total rating of 3.9. When the Golden State Warriors and Los Angeles Clippers played Game 6 last week, it was the highest-rated first-round NBA playoff game in two years, and that was a 3.0.

The NFL has to be especially thrilled at its day two ratings. For rounds two and three, on a Friday night, the ratings took off. ESPN PR said ABC averaged 2.6 million viewers (up 31 percent from 2018), ESPN/ESPN2 averaged 2.1 million (up 20 percent) and all of the broadcasts drew an average of 5.7 million fans, a 19 percent increase from last year. It was the biggest day-two audience ever, ESPN said.

Hey, remember when people were saying the NFL had a ratings crisis?

16 PHOTOS
NFL prospects, fans arrive at the 2019 NFL draft
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NFL prospects, fans arrive at the 2019 NFL draft
Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray walks the red carpet ahead of the first round at the NFL football draft, Thursday, April 25, 2019, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
Michigan linebacker Devin Bush walks the red carpet ahead of the first round at the NFL football draft, Thursday, April 25, 2019, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
Ohio State defensive end Nick Bosa walks the red carpet ahead of the first round at the NFL football draft, Thursday, April 25, 2019, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
Louisiana State linebacker Devin White walks the red carpet ahead of the first round at the NFL football draft, Thursday, April 25, 2019, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
Michigan linebacker Devin Bush walks the red carpet ahead of the first round at the NFL football draft, Thursday, April 25, 2019, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
Iowa tight end T.J. Hockenson walks the red carpet ahead of the first round at the NFL football draft, Thursday, April 25, 2019, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
Georgia defensive back DeAndre Baker walks the red carpet ahead of the first round at the NFL football draft, Thursday, April 25, 2019, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
Clemson defensive tackle Christian Wilkins walks the red carpet ahead of the first round at the NFL football draft, Thursday, April 25, 2019, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
Mississippi wide receiver D.K. Metcalf walks the red carpet ahead of the first round at the NFL football draft, Thursday, April 25, 2019, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
Missouri quarterback Drew Lock walks the red carpet ahead of the first round at the NFL football draft, Thursday, April 25, 2019, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers fans cheers ahead of the first round at the NFL football draft, Thursday, April 25, 2019, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
Fans watch the main stage ahead of the first round at the NFL football draft, Thursday, April 25, 2019, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
Minnesota Vikings fan Syd Davy cheers ahead of the first round at the NFL football draft, Thursday, April 25, 2019, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
A Indianapolis Colts fan cheers ahead of the first round at the NFL football draft, Thursday, April 25, 2019, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
Georgia defensive back DeAndre Baker walks the red carpet ahead of the first round at the NFL football draft, Thursday, April 25, 2019, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, right participates in the national anthem with football players ahead of the first round at the NFL football draft, Thursday, April 25, 2019, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
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Live attendance for the draft shatters records

The draft is fun. There are quirky stories, every fan base feels its team got better, big-name college players have their pro dreams realized and there are always surprises. Still, it’s hard to believe more people would tune in to see Roger Goodell read names off a card than watch Kevin Durant drop 50 points on the Clippers.

The attendance for the draft also shattered records. The NFL said more than 600,000 fans were in the streets of Nashville for the draft, far surpassing the old record of 250,000 in Philadelphia. Las Vegas should be a fun draft destination next year.

The NFL has turned its draft into a spectacle. It stretched the event over three days. It began moving locations, inviting more fans to attend. It has broadened how many networks air it, including a larger presence for ABC this year.

And given how fans can’t get enough, the NFL will surely figure out ways to expand the event even more.

32 PHOTOS
Every first round pick in the 2019 NFL draft
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Every first round pick in the 2019 NFL draft
Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray poses with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell after the Arizona Cardinals selected Murray in the first round at the NFL football draft, Thursday, April 25, 2019, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
Ohio State defensive end Nick Bosa poses with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell after the San Francisco 49ers selected Bosa in the first round at the NFL football draft, Thursday, April 25, 2019, in Nashville, Tenn.(AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
Alabama defensive tackle Quinnen Williams poses with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell after the New York Jets selected Williams in the first round at the NFL football draft, Thursday, April 25, 2019, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announces that Clemson's Clelin Ferrell was selected by the Oakland Raiders in the first round at the NFL football draft, Thursday, April 25, 2019, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
Kacey Reynolds, 19, announes that Louisiana State linebacker Devin White has been selected by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the first round at the NFL football draft, Thursday, April 25, 2019, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
Duke quarterback Daniel Jones poses with his new jersey after the New York Giants selected Jones in the first round at the NFL football draft, Thursday, April 25, 2019, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
Kentucky linebacker Josh Allen poses with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell after the Jacksonville Jaguars selected Allen in the first round at the NFL football draft, Thursday, April 25, 2019, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
Iowa tight end T.J. Hockenson poses with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell after the Detroit Lions selected Hockenson in the first round at the NFL football draft, Thursday, April 25, 2019, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
Houston defensive tackle Ed Oliver poses with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell after the Buffalo Bills selected Oliver in the first round at the NFL football draft, Thursday, April 25, 2019, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
Michigan linebacker Devin Bush poses with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell after the Pittsburgh Steelers selected Bush in the first round at the NFL football draft, Thursday, April 25, 2019, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
Alabama tackle Jonah Williams takes the stage after the Cincinnati Bengals selected him in the first round at the NFL football draft, Thursday, April 25, 2019, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announces that Rashan Gary of Michigan will be headed to the Green Bay Packers during the first round at the NFL football draft, Thursday, April 25, 2019, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
Clemson defensive tackle Christian Wilkins poses with his new jersey after the Miami Dolphins selected Wilkins in the first round at the NFL football draft, Thursday, April 25, 2019, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announces that the Atlanta Falcons selected Boston College guard Chris Lindstrom during the first round at the NFL football draft, Thursday, April 25, 2019, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announces that the Washington Redskins selected Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins during the first round at the NFL football draft, Thursday, April 25, 2019, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
Florida State defensive end Brian Burns poses with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell after the Carolina Panthers selected Burns in the first round at the NFL football draft, Thursday, April 25, 2019, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

The New York Giants selected defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence with the No. 17 pick.

(AP Photo/Jon Barash)

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announces that the Minnesota Vikings selected North Carolina State's Garrett Bradbury in the first round at the NFL football draft, Thursday, April 25, 2019, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
Tennessee high school football players join NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell as Goodell announces that the Tennessee Titans selected Mississippi State's Jeffery Simmons during the first round at the NFL football draft, Thursday, April 25, 2019, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
Iowa tight end Noah Fant takes the stage after NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced that the Denver Broncos selected Fant in the first round at the NFL football draft, Thursday, April 25, 2019, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

The Green Bay Packers selected safety Darnell Savage Jr. with the No. 21 pick.

(Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)
Washington State tackle Andre Dillard shows off his new jersey after the Philadelphia Eagles selected him in the first round at the NFL football draft, Thursday, April 25, 2019, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

The Houston Texans selected offensive tackle Tytus Howard with the No. 23 pick.

(Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images)
Alabama running back Josh Jacobs poses with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell after the Oakland Raiders selected Jacobs in the first round at the NFL football draft, Thursday, April 25, 2019, in Nashville, Tenn.(AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
Oklahoma wide receiver Marquise Brown poses with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell after the Baltimore Ravens Brown selected in the first round at the NFL football draft, Thursday, April 25, 2019, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

The Washington Redskins, from the Indianapolis Colts, selected defensive end Montez Sweat with the No. 26 pick.

(Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images)

The Oakland Raiders, from the Dallas Cowboys, selected safety Johnathan Abram with the No. 27 pick.

(Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)

The Los Angeles Chargers selected defensive tackle Jerry Tillery with the No. 28 pick.

(Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The Seattle Seahawks, from the Kansas City Chiefs, selected defensive end L.J. Collier with the No. 29 pick.

(AP Photo/Butch Dill)
Georgia defensive back DeAndre Baker poses with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell after the New York Giants selected Baker in the first round at the NFL football draft, Thursday, April 25, 2019, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

The Atlanta Falcons, from the Los Angeles Rams, selected defensive tackle Kaleb McGary with the No. 31 pick.

(AP Photo/Butch Dill)

The New England Patriots selected wide receiver N'Keal Harry with the No. 32 pick.

(Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images)
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Frank Schwab is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at shutdown.corner@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @YahooSchwab

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