By May Shanahan

The NFL has managed to become a 365-day-a-year sport.

Even though it only plays from September through February.

So, it’s not surprising that last weekend’s NFL draft drew great TV ratings.

Especially compared to the Academy Awards, which suffered from the lack of interesting movies and a perception that it is obsessed with diversity instead of entertainment.

Across ESPN, ABC and the NFL Network, the first round of the NFL Draft on Thursday night averaged 12.6 million viewers on television and digital sources, according to the NFL and Nielsen.

That was the second-highest first day on record for the event, second only to last year’s first-round number (15.5 million). Prior to last year, the previous high for the first night of the Draft was 12.4 million (2014).

The 25th most-watched TV program of 2021, the first night of the Draft had a larger audience than the Academy Awards (10.4 million) on April 25 and also outdrew all but one game of last year’s World Series, according to ESPN.

The event also garnered almost eight million viewers on YouTube, TikTok, Twitter, Facebook and ESPN’s digital platforms, a 50% rise over the streaming results of Day 1 of the 2020 Draft, according to Deadline.