NC State Elite EIght Mar 31, 2024; Dallas, TX, USA; North Carolina State Wolfpack head coach Kevin Keatts and guard DJ Horne (0) and forward DJ Burns Jr. (30) celebrate with the trophy after defeating the Duke Blue Devils in the finals of the South Regional of the 2024 NCAA Tournament at American Airline Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

While most of the increased viewership highlights for March Madness this year have come on the women’s side, the men’s tournament remains up heading into the Final Four.

Through the Elite Eight, this year’s 2024 NCAA Tournament is averaging 9.4 million viewers on the men’s side, up 4% from the 2023 tournament.

The Elite Eight also delivered the most-watched game and day of the tournament, with NC State’s upset win over Duke averaging 15.1 million viewers on Sunday. As a whole, Sunday’s two games on CBS averaged 12.8 million viewers, the most-watched Elite Eight day of the tournament since 2019.

Purdue’s win over Tennessee also picked up a strong audience, averaging 10.4 million viewers on CBS Sunday.

Both Elite Eight games on Sunday drew “most-watched since 2019” marks. NC State-Duke was the most-watched Elite Eight game in any timeslot since 2019, while Purdue-Tennessee was the most-watched Elite Eight game in the early window since 2019.

As you’d expect with both games airing on cable, it was a bit of a different story for Saturday’s games. Airing on TBS and truTV, Alabama’s win over Clemson averaged 7.79 million viewers, while UConn’s demolition of Illinois averaged 6.48 million. Both were down single digits from the two games a year ago, which aired on TBS and did not have truTV simulcasts.

Overall, the Elite Eight averaged 10.08 million viewers, a 16% increase from last year (which did not have any truTV simulcasts).

Heading into the Final Four this weekend, it’s looking like a mixed bag for the NCAA. The final three games will all air on cable, lessening the audiences for the games had they been airing on CBS. A Purdue-UConn final is far and away the best matchup on paper, and an upset on either side would be a bitter blow for the tournament’s finale.

[Data via Sports Media Watch]

About Joe Lucia

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