NCAA Title Game Viewership Falls From Last CBS Championship Of 2017 – Update


UPDATE, 12:52 PM: The final numbers for last night’s historic NCCA tournament win by the University of Virginia over Texas Tech and they are good and not so good for CBS.

Compared to last year’s TBS, TNT and truTV broadcast Michigan and Villanova match-up title game, last night’s NCCA Championship was up 23% in viewers with 19. million tuning in for the OT 85-77 battle.

However, compare to how the CBS airing of North Carolina’s 71-65 win over Gonzaga on April 3, 2017, last night’s game took a nearly 15% dive in total sets of eyeballs.

Even with an easy primetime win for CBS in both total viewers and the 18-49 demo on Monday, that total audience number is a hard drop for a Big 4 net. Over the past two weeks, CBS have been pounding their chest over the around 8% rise the tournament had over 2018.

In the clutch, the viewers were certainly there last night, even though the spotlighted teams like Duke didn’t make it through to the finals. Despite the late hour, Monday’s NCAA Championship game peaked with 23.5 million viewers in the overtime of the 11:30 – 11:45 PM ET slot.

PREVIOUSLY, 6:18 AM: It may have taken a little longer than the University of Virginia’s men’s basketball team wanted, but in the end the school made history with its first NCCA Tournament title win ever. However for CBS, that victory was at best bittersweet when it comes to the ratings.

Having rolled over all the blue bloods in the competition this year, Virginia and Texas Tech took their match-up in Minneapolis in the first NCAA Men’s championship overtime in 11 years for the former to win 85-77.

Going almost to midnight ET, the game scored a 12.4/22 for CBS in metered market results, according to Nielsen.

While up 19% from the all-time NCAA championship game low of last year’s Michigan and Villanova battle royale, the Virginia win is down 15% from the last time the tournament title game aired on CBS two years ago.

Now, on average, this year’s men’s tournament has been up about 8% from last year. However, despite the bragging rights that CBS have claimed, it is important to note that the 2018 college b-ball battles were up the cable dial on TBS, TNT and truTV, not on one of the Big 4.

If you hark back to the last tie the NCAA men’s tournament was on CBS back in 2017 …well, it’s a whole different ballgame ratingswise. Add to that, the fact that the big draws like Duke went down earlier in the tour and two smaller schools ended up in the title game didn’t help grab the small screen fans.

Then there is the growing factor of streaming, which pushed last night’s NCAA Championship game up 19% and 7% based on live uniques, with live streams and live hours consumed.

We’ll have to see how it all plays out in the final numbers later today, but right now the math isn’t working in CBS’ favor.

The 71-65 win by North Carolina over Gonzaga on April 3, 2017 went on to pull in 22.9 million viewers. With the early metrics we’ve seen this morning, it doesn’t look like the 2019 tournament final game will be hitting that kind of numbers for the broadcaster. The 2018 NCAA final of April 2 that year took a 28% drop from the year before to end up with an audience of 16.5 million.

As I said, we’ll update with more NCAA tournament ratings as they come in. We’ll also looking at how The Voice, American Idol and the rest of last night’s primetime offerings did too. Until then, chew on this: last night’s basketball hit its peak in the 11:30-11:45 ET slot with a 15.0/30/ Also, here are the Top 5 local metered markets for Monday’s big game – and congrats Virginia:

1. Richmond – 31.3/48
2. Norfolk – 23.4/39
3. Minneapolis – 23.3/41
4. Louisville – 23.2/37
5. Kansas City – 21.1/36

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