Coverage of the “March Madness” NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship through Saturday’s telecasts received the event’s best ratings in 18 years, Multichannel News reports.
Tournament programming on TBS, CBS, TNT and TruTV through March 17 pulled in a collective 5.3 U.S. household rating, up 4% from last year’s 5.1 average and up 15% from 2010’s 4.6 rating, the story reports. Total viewers averaged 8 million, up 3% from 2011 and up 14% from 2010.
The story adds: “On a Saint Patrick’s Day that saw eight high-seeded favorites — Syracuse, Kentucky, Baylor, Ohio State, Wisconsin, Marquette, Indiana and Louisville — all prevail, the coverage across the four networks delivered the highest-rated and most-watched first Saturday of the tourney since 2007. The March 17 telecasts averaged a 6.1 rating, which grew 3% over last year’s 5.9 and 13% above the 5.4 mark in 2010. The 9.3 million-viewer average matched last year and was 11% more than the 8.4 million viewers in 2010.”
That performance followed a day of coverage on Friday that hit Nielsen milestones. The story reports: “With No. 2 seeds Duke and Missouri falling to Lehigh and Norfolk State, respectively, the four networks on March 16 teamed to tally a 5.4 household rating and 8 million viewers, according to Nielsen fast nationals data, making it the most-watched NCAA tournament Friday since the event expanded to four telecast windows in 1991. Those deliveries were up 8% compared with a 5.0 rating in 2011 and 29% versus 2010’s 4.2 rating, and 7% when measured against 7.5 million viewers in 2011 and 27% from the prior year’s 6.3 million watchers.”