Duke's Zion Williamson against UCF's Tacko Fall.

After getting off to a good start with first round ratings that were tied for the highest in 28 years, the men’s basketball NCAA Tournament ratings have continued strong through the first weekend. Turner and CBS announced Monday that the ratings through the first weekend are up eight percent from last year (a year which saw a three percent drop overall from 2017), and that they’re the second-highest since the format change in 1991, behind only 2015’s high water mark. Here’s their Twitter breakdown of the high points:

Some further details from the release:

Live game coverage across TBS, CBS, TNT and truTV is averaging a 6.4/15 HH rating/share in the metered markets, the second-highest rating through the first weekend since 1991, when the NCAA Tournament expanded to its current television format (6.7/14 in 2015). The 6.4/15 HH rating, based on Nielsen metered market delivery, is up 8% over last year (5.9/13). 

NCAA March Madness Live has set all-time records in live streams and live hours of consumption for the NCAA Tournament to date, with both seeing increases of more than 25% through the first full week.

Additionally, Sunday’s third game telecast window from 5:15-9:15 PM, ET, highlighted by Duke’s down-to-the-wire victory over UCF, earned an 11.9/24 HH rating/share, up +35% from last year (8.8/18) and ranking as the second-highest rating for that game window in 29 years (12.1/23 in 2017). 

That narrow win from top overall seed Duke over UCF certainly helped boost these ratings, as the 6.4 with the weekend included beats the 6.0 after Thursday and the 6.1 after Friday. But many of the other weekend games produced strong results, too. And it’s also interesting to see how much streaming is up year-over-year. We’ll see if this positive ratings trends continue into the Sweet Sixteen, which begins Thursday.


About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.