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Record 39 million fans tune in to 2009 NFL Draft

First-round coverage outdraws all weekend basketball, hockey and baseball games

Fans spend more time on

A record 39 million viewers tuned in to watch the 2009 NFL Draft on NFL Network, ESPN and ESPN2, according to Nielsen Media Research. The total audience for the 2009 NFL Draft is an increase of nearly 2.5 million viewers from 2008 and tops the record of 38 million viewers set in 2007. Total NFL Draft viewership has increased 66 percent from 2001 to 2009 (from 23.5 million to 39 million).

First-round coverage of the draft drew a combined average viewership of 6.3 million viewers on ESPN and NFL Network -- exceeding the average viewership of the ESPN Sunday Night Baseball (Yankees-Red Sox; 4.6 million viewers), FOX's Saturday Baseball (Yankees-Red Sox and Cubs-Cardinals; 4.1 million) and all other weekend NBA and NHL playoff action (topped by NBA playoffs first-round Game 4 on ABC, Cavaliers-Pistons; 5.4 million viewers).

Fans visiting on draft weekend spent a record average of 45 minutes on the site -- up 153 percent from a year ago. Visitors to over the weekend increased 28 percent over 2008, while video streams accessed were up 65 percent. In addition, fans viewed three times more draft content on their wireless devices than a year ago.

More than 48,000 fans followed the NFL Draft via the NFL's Twitter pages. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell's draft tweets were read by 3,690 followers. NFL Network's Rich Eisen drew 4,383 followers and posted 309 updates throughout the network's two-day draft coverage. NFL Network analyst Jamie Dukes had more than 1,500 followers.

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