Early March Madness Ratings on CBS, Turner At 23-Year High

The opening full day of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament delivered slightly higher ratings this year as March Madness is off to its highest-rated start in 23 years.

According to Nielsen, CBS Sports’ and Turner Sports’ exclusive second-round coverage on Thursday averaged a 6.0 overnight household rating/14 share, up 3% in rating from last year (5.8). Games aired across CBS, TBS, TNT and truTV.

Thursday’s coverage, which made NCAA Tournament history with four overtime games in one day, showed ratings growth in three of the four telecast windows. Primetime, at least on CBS, seemed to suffer declines, according to preliminary national estimates.

The day got off to a hot start, as the first daytime window (noon-4:45 p.m. ET) averaged a 4.6/15 in the overnights — up 12% from last year and the top rating since 1991. This window included Dayton’s upset of Ohio State (pictured).

The second daytime window (2:45-7:15 p.m. ET) averaged a 5.4/14, followed by a 7.7/15 for the first primetime window (6:45-10:30 p.m. ET) and a 6.2/12 for the late primetime window (9:30 p.m.-1:45 a.m. ET).

The overall tournament average rating, including the NCAA First Four, was 5.6/12 — up 8% from a 5.2/12 last year.

More TV

  • SMILF Master of None Dirks Gently

    Fresh Voices in TV Who Broke Out in 2017

    The opening full day of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament delivered slightly higher ratings this year as March Madness is off to its highest-rated start in 23 years. According to Nielsen, CBS Sports’ and Turner Sports’ exclusive second-round coverage on Thursday averaged a 6.0 overnight household rating/14 share, up 3% in rating from last year […]

  • The Good Fight

    TV News Roundup: 'The Good Fight' Sets Season 2 Premiere Date on CBS All Access

    The opening full day of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament delivered slightly higher ratings this year as March Madness is off to its highest-rated start in 23 years. According to Nielsen, CBS Sports’ and Turner Sports’ exclusive second-round coverage on Thursday averaged a 6.0 overnight household rating/14 share, up 3% in rating from last year […]

  • Morning Joe MSNBC Joe Scarborough

    Cable News Ratings: MSNBC Posts Biggest Percentage Gains of 2017

    The opening full day of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament delivered slightly higher ratings this year as March Madness is off to its highest-rated start in 23 years. According to Nielsen, CBS Sports’ and Turner Sports’ exclusive second-round coverage on Thursday averaged a 6.0 overnight household rating/14 share, up 3% in rating from last year […]

  • SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE: WEEKEND UPDATE --

    'SNL' Names Michael Che, Colin Jost Co-Head Writers

    The opening full day of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament delivered slightly higher ratings this year as March Madness is off to its highest-rated start in 23 years. According to Nielsen, CBS Sports’ and Turner Sports’ exclusive second-round coverage on Thursday averaged a 6.0 overnight household rating/14 share, up 3% in rating from last year […]

  • Emmy Awards Placeholder

    TV Academy Announces Rule Changes for 2018 Emmy Awards

    The opening full day of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament delivered slightly higher ratings this year as March Madness is off to its highest-rated start in 23 years. According to Nielsen, CBS Sports’ and Turner Sports’ exclusive second-round coverage on Thursday averaged a 6.0 overnight household rating/14 share, up 3% in rating from last year […]

  • Marvel's The Punisher Renewed for Season

    'Marvel's The Punisher' Renewed for Season 2

    The opening full day of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament delivered slightly higher ratings this year as March Madness is off to its highest-rated start in 23 years. According to Nielsen, CBS Sports’ and Turner Sports’ exclusive second-round coverage on Thursday averaged a 6.0 overnight household rating/14 share, up 3% in rating from last year […]

  • Sonia Saraiya's Top 25 Shows of

    Sonia Saraiya's 25 Best TV Shows of 2017

    The opening full day of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament delivered slightly higher ratings this year as March Madness is off to its highest-rated start in 23 years. According to Nielsen, CBS Sports’ and Turner Sports’ exclusive second-round coverage on Thursday averaged a 6.0 overnight household rating/14 share, up 3% in rating from last year […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content