Coverage of the March Madness NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament is blowing away recent years’ tournaments. CBS Sports and Turner Sports announced that combined coverage of the opening week on TBS, CBS, TNT and truTV is averaging a 6.3/14 overnight rating/share, the highest rating for tournament’s opening week in 23 years.
Coverage of the third round over the weekend was up 19% from a year ago, and was the highest for the third round in 20 years, the companies announced in a press release.
“The networks’ combined coverage, from the NCAA First Four to the completion of the third round, is up 5% vs. last year’s comparable 6.0/13 rating,” the announcement reported. “Turner Sports and CBS Sports’ exclusive third round coverage on Sunday, March 24 — across TBS, CBS, TNT and truTV — averaged an overnight household rating/share of 7.6/15, the highest rating for the first Sunday of the NCAA Tournament in 20 years (8.5/20 in 1993). This year’s rating/share is up 19% compared with a 6.4/13 in 2012.”
Looking at the broadcast windows for Sunday’s coverage, audiences were up in all four windows, including increases of more than 20% in three of the four windows.
Here’s how Sunday’s four broadcast windows shaped up, according to the announcement:
— The first daytime telecast window (12-2:45 p.m. ET) averaged a 5.4/13, the highest rating for the window since 2002 (5.8/13) and an increase of 26% over last year’s 4.3/11.
— The second daytime telecast window (3-5:15 p.m.) averaged a 7.2/15, tied with 2007 as the highest rating for the window since 2006 (7.5/16) and up 20% over last year’s 6.0/13.
— The first primetime telecast window (5:15-9:15 p.m.) averaged an 11.8/22, the highest rating for the window since 1991’s 12.1/24 and a 26% increase over a 9.4/18 in 2012.
— The second primetime window (8 p.m.-12:15 a.m.) averaged a 6.5/11, up 2% vs. a 6.4/10 in 2012.