Ratings for the first-round of the NFL Draft Thursday night on ESPN were minuscule in the Boston market, at least in comparison to the viewership the league’s marquee off-the-field event usually draws locally.
The first-round drew a 1.5 rating on the network according to Nielsen data, ranking Boston 56th — and dead last — among metered (meaning large) markets.
That ESPN number is down considerably from a year ago. Last year, the first-round earned a 3.7 rating on a Thursday night in Boston.
Last year, of course, the Patriots had a first-round pick. With the 32nd overall selection, they chose Texas defensive lineman Malcom Brown.
This year, they had no first-rounder, having had it taken away by the NFL as part of the punishment for Deflategate. The lack of local interest potentially has something to do with the Patriots absence in the first round; perhaps there was even an element of protest to it.
But Boston sports fans did have a couple of live-game options: the Red Sox were facing the Braves, and more compellingly, the Celtics were taking on the Hawks in Game 6 of their NBA Playoff Series.