In Depth

NCAA March Madness Finals Hit Ratings Low

Monday night’s final matchup of this year’s NCAA men’s basketball tournament came in as the lowest-rated championship game ever.

Last night’s game, in which North Carolina beat Michigan State, drew a 10.8 household rating/18 share among households and 17.6 million viewers, according to final figures from Nielsen Media Research. This year’s final matchup was the lowest rated ever, down 11% from last year’s final game between Kansas and Memphis. This also marked the first time the household rating for an NCAA championship game fell below 11 points.

Total viewership for all those who tuned in for part or all of the game was 41.2 million, down just 1% from last year’s total viewership for a competitive game that went into overtime.

Overall, March Madness basketball coverage on CBS averaged a 5.7/12 (8.9 million) this year, up 2% from last year’s all-time low average (excluding 2003, when the war in Iraq began). Among key male demographics, tournament averages were down 14% in men 18-34, 4% in men 18-49 and 2% in men 25-54.