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Wow: Massive Turnout for This Year’s March Madness

Mar 20, 2017  •  Post A Comment

The 2017 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament — also known as “March Madness” — has seen a surge in viewership through the event’s first Sunday, both on linear TV and via digital viewing.

Turner Sports and CBS Sports announced that Sunday’s coverage across TBS, CBS, TNT and truTV averaged 11.9 million viewers, up 34% from 2016. It was the most watched first Sunday for the tournament in 24 years, since 1993.

“Overall, the 2017 NCAA Tournament is the most-watched in 24 years through the first Sunday, with an average of 9.325 million viewers, which is up +10% from 2016 (8.513 million),” the announcement adds.

Meanwhile, digital viewing is breaking records.

“NCAA March Madness Live (MML) has generated an all-time record 69.1 million live streams through the first Sunday of the tournament, an increase of +24% over last year,” the companies announced. “NCAA Tournament games garnering the most live streams to date include: Notre Dame vs. Princeton (5.4 million streams); Virginia vs. UNC-Wilmington (4.3 million streams); and Michigan vs. Oklahoma State (4.2 million streams).”

The tournament has been a focus of social media too. “Official March Madness social media handles generated 26 million social engagements across Twitter, Facebook and Instagram through Sunday, which is up +20% over the corresponding time period last year,” the announcement adds.

Here’s a breakdown of Sunday’s four game telecast windows vs. a year ago:

  • Telecast Window 1 (12:00-2:29 PM) – 7.3 million viewers, up +38%
  • Telecast Window 2 (2:47-5:05 PM) – 10.3 million viewers, up +23%
  • Telecast Window 3 (5:05-9:25 PM) – 18.6 million viewers, up +38%, making it the most-watched for this game window since 1991 when the Tournament expanded to its current television format.
  • Telecast Window 4 (7:53-11:51 PM) – 11.3 million viewers, up +36%, making it the most-watched for this game window since the current television format with four Networks debuted in 2011.

Figures are based on Nielsen Media Research Live + SD Fast Nationals, with digital data from Conviva.

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