Baylor’s rout of Gonzaga in the 2021 NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship Game on Monday saw CBS’ viewership sink by 14% from 2019’s title tilt, averaging 16.92 million viewers.
Its 9.4/21 household rating average was down by 19% from two years ago, when Virginia beat Texas Tech, 85-77, in overtime to win the title. The 2020 March Madness tourney was canceled days before it was set to begin as the coronavirus pandemic began to grip the country.
CBS said, however, that the game at the Superdome in New Orleans the was most-watched non-football sports event since then. Saturday’s thrilling Gonzaga win over UCLA in the semifinal ranks second, having topped the Dodgers’ Game 6 win over the Tampa Bay Rays to clinch the 2020 World Series.
The network noted that no team from the Eastern time zone was among the Final Four this year for the first time ever, reminding that 47% of the country’s TV viewers live there.
Monday’s battle of No. 1 bracket seeds saw the Bears score the first nine points of the game, and they rarely led by less than that en route to crushing the top-seeded Bulldogs’ dream of a perfect season. The 16-point differential was tied for the second-largest margin of victory in the men’s championship during the past three decades.
The Baylor-Gonzaga game peaked at 18.54 million viewers from 10:45-11 p.m. ET, and the rating topped out at 10.3/25 from 11-11:15.
Here is a look at viewership by TV market:
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