OK, Florida fans are still hurting over their 63-53 loss to UCONN in the 2014 Final Four on Saturday night at the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. They can take some satisfaction in knowing that at least one of the largest audiences in cable history watched the game.
Turner Sports and CBS Sports’ coverage of the 2014 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball National Semifinals (Saturday, April 5) across TBS, TNT and truTV boasted the two most-watched college basketball telecasts in cable television history. The networks’ collective coverage of Kentucky against Wisconsin grossed 16.3 million total viewers and an 11.0 HH coverage rating to become the most-viewed college basketball game of all time on a cable television network, based on Nielsen Fast Nationals. The telecast peaked with an average of 18.6 million total viewers and a 12.7 HH coverage rating from 11:00-11:30 PM, ET.
In addition to the record-breaking television audience, the National Semifinals delivered unprecedented growth across March Madness Live. The two games – including Connecticut against Florida as the first game of the doubleheader – netted 3.8 million live streams for an increase of 76% over last year. The doubleheader also combined to register more than one million hours of live video consumed, up 37% over 2013. According to Social Guide, the National Semifinals tallied more than 1.8 million tweets – that were seen by nearly 200 million followers – for a 36% increase over last year.
Coverage of Connecticut-Florida across the three networks grossed 11.7 million total viewers and a 8.2 HH coverage rating to become the second most-watched college basketball game ever on a cable television network. The Connecticut/Florida telecast peaked with an average of 16.2 million total viewers and a 10.9 HH coverage rating from 8:00-8:30 PM, ET.
Kentucky versus Wisconsin averaged a 9.2/17 U.S. HH rating/share, with Connecticut/Florida averaging a 6.9/14 U.S. HH rating/share. Top local markets for Kentucky/Wisconsin were Louisville, Milwaukee, Cincinnati, Columbus and Dayton; largest DMA ratings for Connecticut/Florida were registered in Hartford, Louisville, Jacksonville, Knoxville and Columbus.
Connecticut will face Kentucky in the 2014 NCAA National Championship on Monday, April 7 with coverage beginning at 8:30 p.m. on CBS and the game tipping off earlier this year at 9:10 PM, ET.
Source: Nielsen Media Research, Fast Nationals, Live +SD data stream through Elite Eight Saturday of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. 3/18/14 to 04/05/14 vs. 03/19/13 to 04/06/13. 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. Source for digital metrics: Omniture, Conviva.