NCAA Tournament: Best ratings in 21 years


Well locally there is no doubt there is interest in the 2014 Men’s NCAA Basketball Tournament. With the overall No. 1 Florida Gators involved all along the I-4 corridor, the buzz is basketball.

But nationally it has been a banner first week of the Road to the Final Four.

CBS Sports and Turner Sports’ exclusive coverage of the 2014 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship – across TBS, CBS, TNT and truTV – is delivering its highest viewership in 21 years (since 1993). Through its opening week, the NCAA Tournament is averaging 9,227,000 total viewers, up 4% through the same period last year (8,885,000 total viewers), based on Nielsen Fast Nationals.

Through its first six days, the tournament is averaging a 5.9 U.S. HH ratingup 2% over a 5.8 U.S. HH rating to date in 2013.  The 5.9 U.S. HH rating is tied with 1998 as the highest rating for the opening week of the tournament in 17 years.

This year’s NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship has netted audience growth through each stage – the First Four, second and third rounds.

NCAA Tournament action will continue with the Regional Semifinals on Thursday, March 27, and Friday, March 28 (7 p.m.-midnight ET) with all games available in their entirety on TBS and CBS.  Coverage will begin both nights with the Infiniti NCAA Tip-Off pregame show at 6 p.m. on TBS.  This week’s coverage will also include the Regional Finals onSaturday, March 29, airing on TBS — the first time the Elite Eight will be televised on cable — and Sunday, March 30, on CBS.


Source: Nielsen Media Research, Fast Nationals, Live +SD data stream through Round 3 of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. 3/18/14 to 03/23/14 vs. 03/19/13 to 03/24/13.   2014, 2013, 2012 and 2011 averages based on weighted average of 4 telecast gross across CBS, TBS, TNT and truTV. Historical audiences, CBS 1991 through 2005 based on Live data.