Not only was Saturday night’s Kentucky-Notre Dame game a huge thriller, it was a huge attention-grabber as well. As TBS becomes better-known as a destination for the NCAA Tournament, its numbers have done very well this year.
For Saturday’s Midwest Regional Final which was played in primetime, TBS averaged an impressive 8.4/16 final rating/share for Kentucky-Notre Dame making it the highest-rated college basketball game for a single network in US cable television history. The average audience of 14.7 million also makes it the most-watched college basketball game on cable.
At its peak in the final quarter-hour between 10:45 and 11 pm ET, the game received a very good 11.1/20 rating and a whopping 19.7 million people.
As the CBS/Turner consortium points out:
“The NCAA Tournament-to-date is averaging a 6.3/14 U.S. HH rating/share, up 3% over last year’s 6.1/13. The 6.3/14 is tied with 1996, 1997 and 1998 as the highest average rating-to-date for the Tournament in 21 years (7.2/14); 1994).”
So TBS has to be extremely pleased over the numbers and with the Final Four on TBS once again this year, it has to be rubbing its hands over the possibility of having another glamor team in Duke as well as a rematch between Kentucky and Wisconsin.
The combined average for Wisconsin-Arizona and Kentucky-Notre Dame averaged a 6.8/13, up 13% from last year’s regional final Saturday and 11.7 million viewers, up 34%.
Online, the game had 5.2 million live streams which was impressive as well.
The CBS/Turner group has feel optimistic that the entire tournament can set a ratings record especially if the games can match Kentucky-Notre Dame’s excitement.