NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell speaks from his home in Bronxville, New York. Photo: Getty Images

The National Football League's first-ever virtual draft shattered viewership records on Thursday night, with roughly 15.6 million people tuning in across digital platforms, ABC, ESPN, NFL Network and ESPN Deportes, per the NFL

Why it matters: It's no surprise the event drew vast interest, given that there haven't been many other professional sporting events for fans to follow during the coronavirus crisis.

By the numbers: The first round of the draft saw ratings up roughly 37%, with 11.4 million viewers.

  • The previous ratings record dated back to 2014, when the first night of the draft drew 12.4 million viewers.

Be smart: The NFL draft also offered sports fans a different experience this year than in years past.

  • Because of stay-at-home orders, followers got a rare glimpse into the homes of the players, team executives and even the NFL commissioner.
  • As Axios' Sports Editor Kendall Baker notes, the virtual event went pretty smoothly, which likely kept viewers interested.

The big picture: It's the second major ratings win for Disney's ESPN. Last Sunday, ESPN's "The Last Dance" documentary on the Chicago Bulls’ 1998 NBA championship run averaged a record-breaking 6.1 million viewers.

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David Muir is the most-watched man in summer TV

David Muir. Photo: ABC News

A quirk of the shutdown era, going back to March, has been the resurgence of evening news shows.

The intrigue: With no Olympics, and "60 Minutes" and other shows in summer reruns, ABC's "World News Tonight with David Muir" — for weeks — has been the most watched show on all of television.

Exclusive: Facebook cracks down on political content disguised as local news

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Facebook is rolling out a new policy that will prevent U.S. news publishers with "direct, meaningful ties" to political groups from claiming the news exemption within its political ads authorization process, executives tell Axios.

Why it matters: Since the 2016 election, reporters and researchers have uncovered over 1,200 instances in which political groups use websites disguised as local news outlets to push their point of view to Americans.

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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Governments around the world, prompted by nationalism, authoritarianism and other forces, are threatening the notion of a single, universal computer network — long the defining characteristic of the internet.

The big picture: Most countries want the internet and the economic and cultural benefits that come with it. Increasingly, though, they want to add their own rules — the internet with an asterisk, if you will. The question is just how many local rules you can make before the network's universality disappears.