April 5, 2016

SKEDBALL: March Madness 2016 through Championship Game

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Written by: Mitch Metcalf
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A quiet end to the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, with the Championship Game Monday 4.4.2016 averaging 17.75 million viewers 2+ live+same day on the combination of TBS (with Jim Nantz and the rest of CBS “A” team announcing), TNT (with North Carolina “homer” announcers) and TRU (with Villanova “homer” announcers).   Still a big audience, but this is way down from 28.3 million viewers just last year on CBS (in its final year broadcasting the big game) and below the 21 to 23 million audiences the previous two years.   The adult 18-49 and male 18-49 demographics are also way off the previous few years.

The Final Four games on Saturday 4.2.2016 were also way off recent years, as the disappointing March Madness 2016 ended with a thud.

March Madness Final Four and Championship 2013 to 2016


Here’s a look at the tournament ratings as a whole, with CBS not surprisingly way down from last year as it gave up the crown jewel championship game this year.  TBS was up versus prior years, while TNT and TRU were down as much as CBS.  Looking at all four broadcast partners together, the 2016 tournament was down a disappointing -13% in total viewers versus the prior three years and down a severe -24% with men 18-34.  More evidence of that sports TV rights fee bubble about to burst.

March Madness by Network through Mon 2016 04 04


About the Author

Mitch Metcalf
MITCH METCALF has been tracking every US film release of over 500 screens (over 2300 movies and counting) since the storied weekend of May 20, 1994, when Maverick and Beverly Hills Cop 3 inspired countless aficionados to devote their lives to the art of cinema. Prior to that, he studied Politics and Economics at Princeton in order to prepare for his dream of working in television. He has been Head of West Coast Research at ABC, then moved to NBC in 2000 and became Head of Scheduling for 11 years.