NEW YORK -- The ratings for ESPN's first NFL draft in prime time were up 23 percent from last year.
The cable network says it had a 5.3 rating and 7.2 million viewers for the first round of the draft held Thursday night at Radio City Music Hall. It's the most-viewed first round in the network's 31-year history.
Coverage of last year's draft started at 4 p.m. ET on a Saturday and had a 4.3 rating.
ESPN says the draft ranked as the fifth most-watched cable program of the year. The highest-rated markets were Jacksonville, Fla., (10.9) and New Orleans (10.8).
The NFL Network posted an overnight rating of 0.95.
The ratings represent the percentage of all households with televisions tuned into a program.
The draft coverage continues Friday and Saturday on ESPN.