TV Ratings: Viewership of NCAA Championship Grows 21% Over 2016

NCAA championship ratings North Carolina Gonzaga
AP Photo/Chris Steppig, Pool

UPDATE: In final nationals from Nielsen, Monday night’s North Carolina-Gonzaga championship game averaged 23 million total viewers, up 30% from last year’s championship game. The game peaked with 26.1 million viewers from 11:15-11:30 p.m. Additionally, NCAA March Madness Live recorded 98 million live video streams during the NCAA Tournament, up 33% over last year. The National Championship game garnered 4.4 million live video streams, an all-time record for the title game.

CBS’ coverage of Monday night’s March Madness closer saw a big viewership spike in overnight ratings compared to the 2016 championship game that aired on Turner cable networks.

The North Carolina Tar Heels defeat of the Gonzaga Bulldogs averaged a 14.5 household rating in Nielsen’s 56 overnight metered markets, which cover about 70% of U.S. TV households. That was up 21% from last year and marked the third-highest rating for the NCAA’s men’s basketball National Championship since 2005.

Elsewhere on broadcast, most shows were down from the previous week as they were airing against the championship game. On NBC, “The Voice” (2.1 rating/7 share, 9.8 million) and “Taken” (0.9/3, 4.9 million) both finished the night down in the demo.

For ABC, “Dancing With the Stars” (1.6/5, 10.3 million) was also down, though slightly less than some of its competition. “Quantico” (0.6/2, 3.2 million) saw a big drop in its demo number but stayed roughly even in total viewers.

Fox aired new episodes of “24: Legacy” (0.8/3, 3.1 million) and “APB” (0.6/2, 2.7 million), both of which stayed approximately even with last week’s episodes.

The CW aired only repeats.

For the night, CBS was easily  the winner in both measures with a 4.6 and 15.4 million viewers, though those numbers will be adjusted later today when final viewership numbers for the championship game become available. NBC followed with a 1.7 and 8.2 million viewers. ABC was third with a 1.2 and 8 million viewers. Fox finished fourth with a 0.7 and 2.9 million viewers. The CW managed a 0.2 and 1 million viewers.

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