The upward momentum for the 2017 men’s NCAA Tournament for CBS and Turner Sports continues. With Saturday night’s two games decided by a combined total of five points, CBS enjoyed a ratings resurgence for the Final Four seeing a a 37% increase in the overnights from last year. In 2016, the Final Four on TBS experienced two blowouts and they were decided by a total of 61 points.

The overnight rating for the Final Four on CBS was a very good 10.4/21 which is the highest average number for the event since the CBS/Turner partnership began in 2011.

The Gonzaga vs. South Carolina game averaged a 9.3/20 overnight rating/share in the early slot. That was up 31% from Villanova-Oklahoma last year. As the game got tight in the last ten minutes, the rating peaked with a 12.7/25 between 8:15 and 8:30 p.m. ET.

The nightcap between North Carolina and Oregon was an aesthetics nightmare, but still drew an 11.5/21 rating, up 42% from last year’s North Carolina-Syracuse debacle. And the game tied for the second-highest rated late Final Four contest since 1998.

UPDATE: The viewership numbers are out. Gonzaga-South Carolina averaged 14.7 million viewers up 40% from last year. North Carolina-Oregon saw an average viewership of 18.8 million up 46% from 2016’s late game. The average for both games was 16.8 million and that makes it the second most watched Final Four since 1998. And the average viewership for the entire tournament is 10.4 million which is the second most-watched since 1994.

Overall, CBS/Turner is averaging a 6.9/14 for the tournament which is up 11 percent from 2016.

As for the online portion, March Madness Live saw 5.2 million live streams for the Final Four which is up 84% from the year before.

So CBS/Turner continues to see good numbers for the tournament in 2017. With two number one seeds in North Carolina and Gonzaga meeting in the championship game on Monday, there’s no reason to believe that CBS will see yet another increase from last year’s North Carolina-Villanova buzzer beater.

About Ken Fang

Ken has been covering the sports media in earnest at his own site, Fang's Bites since May 2007 and at Awful Announcing since March 2013.

He provides a unique perspective having been an award-winning radio news reporter in Providence and having worked in local television.

Fang celebrates the three Boston Red Sox World Championships in the 21st Century, but continues to be a long-suffering Cleveland Browns fan.

  • Bscotch Bscotch

    Ken….maybe mention that CBS is in 30 million more homes than TBS

    • And that CBS lets you watch online without cable authentication.

      • Walt_Gekko

        Trump could fix that by issuing an Executive Order that certain major events MUST be made available online whether someone has cable (or an internet-only package as I do) or not.

    • crs44

      LOL that was my first thought.

    • Raymond Chuang

      And the fact CBS is available over-air in essentially the entire USA.

      This is why I still want ESPN to put the FBS College Football Playoffs and Championship Game on ABC, not on ESPN.

      • Walt_Gekko

        And ABC affiliates would be up in arms if the CFB Playoffs and championship game were on ABC, especially many west of the Central Time Zone that from my understanding air the bare minimum of ABC programming and in many cases air infommercials the rest of the time because that’s the ONLY thing that makes money for them. Also, it would potentially mess with Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve (that is now hosted by Ryan Seacrest) and Dancing With The Stars, which gets massive numbers.

        • Raymond Chuang

          But that will be more than compensated by MUCH higher ratings because everyone can see the games–not just people on cable or satellite TV. Besides, they could easily push back the start of “Dancing with the Stars” one week with very little–if any–loss of viewers.

          • Walt_Gekko

            Not true. One of the reasons ESPN is able to charge for carriage on systems as much as they do is because events like the CFP are ON ESPN and NOT ABC. Disney gets that money in addition to ad buys that reach a more desirable audience in many cases than over-the-air.

    • Walt_Gekko

      Yes, but many of those additional homes are ones ad buyers don’t care about.