The first round of the 2021 NHL Draft averaged 268,000 viewers on ESPN2 last Friday night — up 3% from last year, when the event aired in November on NBCSN (259K). This year’s draft was once again held virtually.
Compared to the 2019 draft, which aired on NBCSN in June, this year’s viewership declined 27% from 365,000. This year’s draft was opposite the Opening Ceremony of the Olympics.
Two nights earlier, the Seattle Kraken expansion draft averaged a substantially stronger 637,000 viewers on ESPN2. The previous expansion draft — for the Golden Knights in 2017 — was part of an NHL Awards telecast that averaged 595,000 on NBCSN.