The final numbers are in for the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship Game and they are good. Duke-Wisconsin drew the best numbers for the championship since 1997’s Arizona-Kentucky game.

CBS/Turner says last night’s National Championship game drew an average of 28.3 million viewers which is the highest average viewership in 18 years. Arizona-Kentucky averaged 28.4 million viewers. And in this day and age, 28.3 million is close to NFL Wild Card Weekend numbers.

The final rating was 16.0/26 which is 28% better than last year’s UConn-Kentucky championship which garnered a 12.5/20. Viewership for last night was 33% higher than in 2014.

For the tournament, CBS, TBS, TNT and truTV averaged a 7.0/15 for all 67 games and that’s 8% better than last year. Viewership averaged 11.3 million viewers and that’s also 8% higher than 2014’s tournament. This is the highest average viewership since 1993 when it averaged 12.7 million.

Overall, CBS and Turner have to feel very good coming out of this year’s action. The games were good. Viewership was higher than last year and with TBS and truTV setting college basketball and network records this year, it has to be confident that next year will result in similar numbers. TBS set record cable college basketball viewership marks for Kentucky-Notre Dame and Kentucky-Wisconsin. truTV had a network record for Oregon-Wisconsin in the first week of the tournament.

CBS/Turner notes the consumption online also set a record:

Additionally, NCAA March Madness Live generated several all-time records including 80.7 million live video streams and 17.8 million hours of live video consumption during this year’s tournament.  This year’s live video streams are up 17% over last year, with hours of live video consumption up 19% this year.  NCAA March Madness Live also delivered all-time records for Monday’s National Championship with 3.4 million live video streams and one million hours of live video consumption

So as we put a big red bow on the tournament, our takeaway is that people flocked to the games both online and on TV.

[CBS Sports]

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

Comments are closed.