March Madness ratings: Day 1 hits higher

One particular of the blue-chip days on the sporting calendar — the opening Thursday of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament — delivered a multi-year viewership higher.

Thursday’s opening day of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament averaged a combined eight.four million viewers per window across CBS, TBS, TNT and TruTV — up two% from final year and the highest initially day typical because 2015. (Retain in thoughts out-of-property viewing has only been integrated in Nielsen estimates for the previous 3 tournaments.)

As is standard, the early primetime window was the most-watched of the day as the 4 networks combined to typical a five.five rating and ten.16 million viewers — in fact down 9% and six% respectively from final year. Notably, TNT was the most-watched network in that window with three.44 million for Auburn-Iowa (+36%), edging Duke-Oral Roberts on CBS (three.43M, -37%). The Duke game did have a greater rating (two. to 1.eight).

Also in that window, TBS scored a .9 (+1%) and 1.71 million (+7%) for Texas-Colgate and TruTV a .eight (+21%) and 1.58 million (+29%) for Northwestern-Boise State.

The late primetime window ranked second for the day with a combined typical of eight.five million, up 11% year-more than-year. CBS led the way with a two. (+9%) and three.48 million (+16%) for Louisiana-Tennessee, followed by Houston-Northern Kentucky on TNT at a 1.four (+17%) and two.49 million (+17%). TBS chipped in 1.85 million for Penn State’s rout of Texas A&ampM (+9%) and TruTV brought up the rear with just 703,000 for UCLA-UNC Asheville (-19%).

Shifting to the afternoon, the early window combined for six.eight million viewers — the biggest audience however for that window on the opening day of the tournament. Figures have been not right away readily available for West Virginia-Maryland on CBS, but all 3 cable games improved double-digits year-more than-year, with Utah State-Missouri up 27% on TNT (1.04M), Furman’s upset of Virginia up 13% on TruTV (905K) and Kansas-Howard up 78% on TBS (815K).

The late afternoon window integrated 1.97 million for Arkansas-Illinois on TBS (+69%), 1.eight million for Princeton’s upset of Arizona on TNT and 1.58 million for San Diego State’s narrow win more than Charleston on TruTV. In spite of the dramatic nature of the latter two games, each and every declined double-digits (22 and 15 % respectively) from final year. Figures for Alabama-Texas A&ampM-CC on CBS have been not right away readily available.

In other action, the 1st 4 grossed five.41 million on TruTV — down 21% from final year (six.89M). Tuesday’s Pittsburgh-Mississippi State game led the way with 1.74 million viewers (-21%), followed by Arizona State-Nevada the following evening at 1.38 million (-38%).

As for the 16 seed games, Texas A&ampM-CC’s win more than SEMO was the only game of the round to boost more than final year with 1.22 million (+two%). Fairleigh Dickinson-Texas Southern brought up the rear with 1.08 million on Wednesday (-16%).

(Nielsen estimates from Programming Insider three.17, ShowBuzz Every day three.15, three.16, three.17, CBS Sports/Twitter 3.17)

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