The ratings for the NCAA men’s basketball tournament have been down this year, and that trend continued with this weekend’s Elite Eight. As Austin Karp of Sports Business Journal reports, the overall overnights for the Elite Eight were down 25 percent from 2015:
Overnight rating for four Elite 8 games on CBS/TBS -25% from 2015, which had UK still undefeated, no Easter, Sunday games NOT in primetime
— Austin Karp (@AustinKarp) March 28, 2016
Karp hits on a lot of reasons that may be behind the change there, specifically the games overlapping with Easter and the lack of Kentucky’s historic undefeated run. The later games Sunday this year may have played a role, too. It should be noted that Kentucky’s run last year helped make the 2015 tournament the most-watched since 1993, so while this is a substantial drop from that, part of that is about 2015 being remarkably good. Still, these aren’t great numbers overall, and they’re in sharp contrast to the strong performances in 2014 and 2015. Here are the overnight ratings for each individual Elite Eight game, from AA’s Douglas Pucci:
Oklahoma vs. Oregon (6:09 p.m. Eastern Saturday, CBS): 5.1
Villanova vs. Kansas (8:49 p.m. Eastern Saturday, CBS): 7.4
Syracuse vs. Virginia (6:09 p.m. Eastern Sunday, TBS): 4.9
North Carolina vs. Notre Dame (8:49 p.m. Eastern Sunday, TBS): 6.6
It’s worth mentioning that the CBS ratings Saturday were still very good compared to the other broadcast networks, especially in the coveted 18-49 demographic, and were the best ratings for CBS so far this tournament. From Rick Porter at TV By The Numbers:
CBS’ NCAA Tournament coverage scored its best prime-time ratings thus far this year, as two Elite Eight games averaged a 3.1 in adults 18-49, pending updates. That was almost four times the rating for second-place ABC, whose annual pre-Easter broadcast of “The Ten Commandments” averaged 0.8. The movie was down from 1.0 last year (Easter was in April 2015, so it didn’t have March Madness as competition).
So, even down ratings can still be useful. Turner will be hoping that things pick up heading into next weekend’s Final Four, though.
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