March Madness Drawing Huge Ratings Increases, With Title Game Set for Tonight

Apr 3, 2017  •  Post A Comment

With North Carolina and Gonzaga still to determine the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship tonight, coverage of this year’s March Madness tournament across CBS, TBS, TNT and truTV has been a huge draw. CBS and Turner announced that the Final Four is the second most watched in the past 19 years, while the tournament to date is the second most watched in 23 years.

Coverage of Saturday’s semifinal games on CBS averaged 16.8 million viewers, up 44% from a year ago.

“To date, the NCAA Tournament is averaging 10.4 million viewers, up +14% from last year and the second-highest viewer average through the Final Four since 1994,” the networks announced. “Additionally, NCAA March Madness Live has generated an all-time best 93.5 million live video streams through the Final Four.

The North Carolina-Oregon semifinal was watched by an average of 18.8 million viewers, up 46% from 2016, and the second-highest viewer average for the late Final Four game in 19 years. The game peaked with 20.5 million viewers from 11-11:15 PM, ET.

The early game, Gonzaga-South Carolina, averaged 14.7 million viewers, up 40% from a year ago, making it the second most-watched Final Four game in that window since 2005. The game peaked with 20.6 million viewers from 8:15-8:27 PM.

Gonzaga and North Carolina tip off tonight at 9:20 p.m. ET, with coverage on CBS.

The announcement cites Nielsen Media Research Fast Nationals based on Live + SD data stream, with digital data from Conviva.

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