NCAA Tournament Is Most-Watched ‘March Madness’ Coverage Since 2005; On-Demand Viewing Surges

Apr 5, 2011  •  Post A Comment

CBS Sports and Turner Sports have reported ratings for the combined NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament coverage on CBS, TBS, TNT and truTV, declaring that the tournament was the most-watched since 2005. “March Madness” coverage averaged 10.2 million total viewers, with final figures for Monday night’s championship game still to come.

Separately, the companies announced that March Madness on Demand, presented by Turner Sports, CBS Sports and the NCAA, had a whopping 63% increase in total visits along with a 17% surge in total hours of video streaming across all platforms, including online and iPad and iPhone apps.

Broadband and mobile platforms had a combined 52 million visits from Selection Sunday March 13 through the conclusion of the tournament April 4. Video streaming added up to 13.7 million total hours.

The 10.2 million figure for television viewing represented a 7% increase from 9.5 million in 2010, when coverage was exclusively on CBS. The event averaged 10.6 million back in 2005.

The tournament averaged a 6.4 rating/14 share, also up 7% from last year and the highest since 2005.

Sean McManus, chairman of CBS Sports, said in a statement: “The excitement that built during the entire tournament resulted in terrific ratings. The new television format has been appreciated and accepted by the viewers. Although we are only in the first year of our 14-year partnership with Turner Sports, the success we’ve achieved with the best overall tournament ratings since 2005 bodes very well for the future.”

Added David Levy, president of sales, distribution and sports for Turner Broadcasting System: “By every measure, the first year of Turner and CBS’s coverage of the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship was a success. … The ratings increases this year also proved that the new television format is more fan friendly than ever. With four national television networks, viewers were able to enjoy more games, coverage and analysis.”

The companies noted that television viewing was up 21% from last year in adults 18-34, up 12% in adults 18-49, up 25% in males 18-34 and up 14% in males 18-49.


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