College Basketball Ratings on Turner, CBS Best in 23 Years

Sunday numbers exceptionally strong, surging more than 20% from the comparable day in 2012

The 2013 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship on CBS Sports and Turner Sports is off to a strong ratings start, earning the highest opening-week average in 23 years.

According to Nielsen, coverage across TBS, CBS, TNT and truTV is averaging a 6.3 household rating/14 share — up 5% from last year at this point. No March Madness has rated higher since 1990, when the tournament expanded to its current format.

On Sunday, all four telecast windows were up vs. the comparable day of a year ago, including 20% in three of the four. The biggest increase came for the first primetime window (games spanning from 5:15-9:15 p.m. ET), where Sunday’s 11.8/22 was up 26% over last year’s 9.4/18 and the highest since 1991 (12.1/24). That window included the game between traditional powers North Carolina and Kansas on CBS.

Action continues Thursday, with CBS skedded to air the championship game on April 8.

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