NCAA Tournament Ratings At 24-Year High Through First Weekend

Brunilde Fioravanti
Marzo 21, 2017

The networks said that live game coverage across four networks - CBS, TBS, TNT and true TV - averaged 9.325 million viewers, a 10 percent boost from 2016.

Sunday's primetime window (5:05-9:25 PM ET) drew 18.6 million viewers and, the most-watched game in the time slot since 1991 when the tournament expanded to its TV format. Yesterday, which featured upset losses by a pair of No. 2 seeds in Duke and Louisville, drew 11.9 million viewers, up 34% compared with previous year and the most-watched first Sunday since 1993.

The networks said an additional 69.1 million streams were served digitally, an all-time record.

The streaming and online engagement numbers have also been impressive.

Live streams also accounted for 69.1 million views, which was not only an all-time record but also up 24 percent from a year ago.

The games with the most live streams have been: Notre Dame vs. Princeton (5.4 million streams), which was the first game to tip-off Thursday afternoon; Virginia vs. UNC-Wilmington (4.3 million streams on Thursday afternoon); and MI vs. Oklahoma State (4.2 million), the first game to tip-off Friday.

One sport seems to be bucking the trend of declining TV ratings.

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 previous year. That suggests March Madness is still a strong property.

Sports Business Journal reports that CBS and Turner combined for a 7.8 overnight rating Sunday, the best first Sunday of the tournament since 1993.

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