NCAA Tournament Houston Cougars Mar 22, 2024; Memphis, TN, USA; Houston Cougars guard Emanuel Sharp (21) celebrates after a play during the second half of the game against the Longwood Lancers in the first round of the 2024 NCAA Tournament at FedExForum. Mandatory Credit: Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

Through its first three days, the 2024 NCAA Tournament is averaging a record amount of viewers.

Per CBS and Warner Bros. Discovery, the tournament has averaged nine million viewers per window through Saturday’s second-round games, the most ever at this point of the tournament.

Saturday’s second round averaged 10.8 million viewers, the best viewership for the first day of the second round ever.

Viewership has improved as the tournament has progressed. The First Four was up double digits from 2023 but still down from 2021 and 2022. Thursday’s first-round coverage averaged 8.5 million viewers, the most-watched first day of the tournament since 2015, and the combined average for the first day and First Four was the best mark since 2014.

Friday’s first-round viewership moved the average through the First Four and first round to 8.3 million viewers, the best mark through the first round ever.

With half of the second round in the books, the average remains an all-time best mark.

Additionally, Oakland’s upset over Kentucky on Thursday was the most-watched first-round game since 2019, averaging 6.21 million viewers. It’s also the second-most-watched first-round game since 2011, behind just Duke-North Dakota State in 2019 (6.22 million).

Through the first three days, the results of the games have gone quite well for CBS and WBD. Four double-digit seeds pulled upsets on each Thursday and Friday, but only one has advanced to the Sweet 16. Some early upsets are great, but once you start getting to the later rounds of the tournament, networks want those better, higher-profile schools still standing and taking part in those marquee matchups against each other.

About Joe Lucia

I hate your favorite team. I also sort of hate most of my favorite teams.