2nd UPDATE, 2:01 PM: The final game of the 2015 NCAA Tournament was played and won last night and now the final ratings are in. The 68-63 come from behind victory by Duke over Wisconsin sure paid off for CBS. In the 9 – 11 PM time slot the match up scored a 9.1/27 rating among adults 18-49 with a very strong 28.26 million total viewers AKA Slamdunk! Why? Because in the final numbers that’s a 26% rise in the demo and a 33% leap in total viewership over the 2104 National Championship game where Connecticut beat Kentucky.
UPDATE, 9:04 AM: Duke’s 68-63 victory over Wisconsin in the championship game of this year’s NCAA men’s basketball tournament was a victory for CBS in metered market results with an 18-year high and a double-digit score over last year. In fast nationals, the roller-coaster match-up drew a 7.2/21 rating among adults 18-49 and 22.60 million total viewers from 9-11 PM. In the key demo, Monday’s final game was up 20% from the 6.0/16 that the national championship game got on April 7 last year in the same time slot.
Non-adjusted fast nationals for last night’s game had total viewership up 27% over the University of Connecticut Huskies’ win last year over Kentucky. That final went up to a 7.2/20 among the 18-49s and 21.20 million total viewers. So, assuming that there will be an adjustment in final numbers today, the record-breaking 2015 tourney looks certain to see its Blue Devils victory top the 2014 final.
With the 8:30 PM pre-game show getting a 2.3/7 rating, CBS had an easy win last night with a 5.6/17 overall rating and 18.01 million viewers.
With that kind of competition, the rest of the night saw a lot of downs and dips in Monday’s primetime on the other networks. In fact, only NBC’s The Night Shift (1.4/4) saw a rise, going up 17% from its March 30 broadcast. Otherwise, The Voice (2.9/9) slipped 9% from last week to hit a Monday season low in preliminary numbers. Fellow competition heavyweight Dancing With The Stars (2.0/6) slipped 5% from its March 30 show. With a Gotham (0.5/2) encore as a lead-in again, The Following (0.9/3) tumbled 18% from last week. That preliminary result for the Kevin Bacon-starrer is a series low. The CW had a mix with The Originals (0.5/2) even with its March 30 show while Jane The Virgin (0.4/7) fell 20% form its last original March 16 to match a low.
PREVIOUS, 7:55 AM: For a while last night in Indianapolis, it certainly looked like Wisconsin was going to win its first national championship since 1941. But in the end, after a surge in the last minutes and overcoming a nine-point deficit, it was Duke that took the college basketball title with a 68-63 victory. The drama on the court certainly was a win for CBS, which scored a 17.1/27 rating in metered markets in the 9-11 PM ET slot. That’s the best the NCAA Men’s Tournament final has done since Arizona’s win over Kentucky in 1997 got 18.0/28.
Monday night’s game is up a strong 33% from last year’s title game. Overall, this year’s NCAA Men’s Tournament has averaged a 7.8/16 overnight rating/share on its coverage on CBS, TBS, TNT and TruTV. That’s up 13% from 2014 and the best the tournament has done in 22 years. The tight game last night peaked in the 11-11:30 PM slot with a 20.1/34 as Duke seized control of the game.
Last year’s title game, in which Connecticut beat Kentucky, drew a 12.9/21 in MM ratings. It got a 6.0/16 among adults 18-49 in early numbers. Down sharply from the year before in the key demo in early numbers, that game saw 17.79 million viewers in preliminary ratings. The 2014 final went up to a 7.2/20 among the key demo and 21.2 million total viewers in the final numbers.
We will update with more numbers from the final game of what has been a record-breaking 2015 tourney later and other Monday night Big 4 shows . In the meantime, here are the Top 5 markets for the NCAA title game:
1. Milwaukee – 42.2/59
2. Raleigh-Durham, NC – 36.2/54
3. Louisville, KY – 33.5/48
4. Columbus, OH – 29.9/44
5. Greensboro-High Point-Winston Salem, NC – 29.5/43