Observers may have criticized the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee decisions about seedings and various teams (UCLA) getting into the Big Dance, but the games and matchups that resulted from the First Four through the Round of 32 has generated record ratings for the CBS/Turner broadcast consortium.
Having five one-point games on Thursday, upsets of Villanova and Virginia on Saturday and Wichita State’s win over Kansas on Sunday helped to generate interest. In addition, perennial heavyweights Duke and Kentucky remain in the tournament heading into the Sweet 16 which provide some good news for CBS/Turner as casual fans want to see some brand names in the 2nd week of the tournament.
For the first week on CBS, TBS, TNT and truTV, the four networks have averaged a 6.7 overnight rating with a 14 share that the highest-ever first week rating since 1991. That’s up 6% from last year’s 6.3/14.
Saturday’s overnight rating was a 7.4/17 which again set a record for CBS/Turner.
The combined weekend rating was quite good according to the CBS/Turner consortium:
This weekend’s exclusive third-round coverage on Saturday and Sunday delivered an average 7.3/16 overnight rating/share, the highest rating for the opening weekend of the NCAA Tournament in 22 years and a 7% increase over last year’s 6.8/14.
And CBS/Turner is pleased over the visits to NCAA March Madness Live:
NCAA March Madness Live has also generated a record-setting 54 million live video streams through Sunday, a 7% increase over last year. Additionally, NCAA March Madness Live has netted more than 11 million hours of live video consumption through the first week of the tournament, up 8% through the same period a year ago.
So the first week was a success for the CBS/Turner partnership and with tournament taking a break until Thursday, the networks and fans have a chance to reload and get ready for more college basketball action later in the week.