The 2020 NFL Draft wasn't just the first virtual draft in league history, it was also the most-viewed first round ever.
The league announced Friday that Thursday's opening round -- which featured NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announcing picks from his home in Westchester County, N.Y. -- shattered the all-time draft viewership record. More than 15.6 million viewers on average tuned in across NFL Network, ABC, ESPN, ESPN Deportes and various digital channels to surpass the previous record of 12.4 million from the 2014 NFL Draft.
The average audience represented a 37 percent increase from last year's draft (11.4 million) and peaked with 19.6 million viewers from 8:45 p.m. to 9 p.m. ET.
The 2020 NFL "Draft-A-Thon" also topped 7 million across various digital and social channels. In addition to raising funds, Draft-A-Thon LIVE will pay tribute to healthcare workers, first responders, and others on the front lines of the battle with COVID-19 over the next two days of the draft. To date, the NFL family has raised more than $85 million in COVID-19 relief.
"The theme of hope is always prevalent in the NFL, especially with regard to the Draft," Goodell said in a statement. "In 2020, that's especially true, as we help honor healthcare workers, first responders, and others on the front lines of the battle with COVID-19 while giving our fans something to cheer about as we celebrate the next generation of NFL stars. We are thrilled so many people were able to join us last night and we thank them for helping support the Draft-A-Thon."