For those thinking that the ratings for the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball National Championship Game would suffer without Kentucky, think again. The Duke-Wisconsin game on CBS saw the best overnight ratings for the NCAA Men’s Basketball National Championship since 1997’s 18.0/28 for Arizona-Kentucky.

The numbers are in and CBS received a 17.7/27 overnight rating/share which is up 33% from last year’s UConn-Kentucky game which averaged a 12.9/21. During the last half-hour of the game, the numbers peaked at 20.1/34.

This bodes well for the final number as well as viewership which could see as much as 23 million.

CBS says the top five markets are as follows:

  1. Milwaukee – 42.2/59
  2. Raleigh-Durham – 36.2/54
  3. Louisville – 33.5/48
  4. Columbus – 29.9/44
  5. Greensboro-High Point-Winston Salem – 29.5/43

Milwaukee saw very good numbers for Duke-Wisconsin, but they didn’t reach the levels for NFC Championship Game which involved the Green Bay Packers which had a 53.5 local rating.

For the entire tournament, CBS/TBS/TNT/truTV averaged a 7.8/16 overnight rating/share which is up 13% from last year and is the best overnight number dating back to 1993 when the entire tournament on CBS averaged a 7.9/17.

CBS and Turner Sports have to feel optimistic that the final numbers will be good when all is tabulated and calculated.

[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.