March 24, 2015

SKEDBALL: March Madness TV Ratings through First Sunday

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Written by: Mitch Metcalf
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During the NCAA Basketball Tournament’s Round of 32 Saturday and Sunday, almost every game on each network was in line with ratings for the same games the past few years.  (We do not have result from the CBS games in the afternoon yet — those ratings will arrive Thursday along with all other non-prime time network program ratings from last week).  The lone time period improvement was on little TRU TV’s single game this weekend (#1-Wisconsin beating #8-Oregon 72-65 at 8 pm Sunday): 3.5 million viewers watched the game, almost double the audience for the same game time period the last few years.

March Madness Ratings Round of 32 Sat and Sun

After a very quick start the first full day of the tournament Thursday, ratings have really settled down Friday-Sunday.  2015 is now very much in line with 2014 for each of the four network partners in the coverage in terms of total viewers (persons aged 2+), and the four-network average to date is within a thousand viewers of last year.

NCAA Basketball Tournament: PERSONS 2+ Audience Averages 

through first Sunday (telecasts 1-52, excluding CBS afternoons)

 2012 2013 2014 2015
CBS 5,971,000 5,725,000 5,983,000 5,946,000
 TNT 1,856,000 2,198,000 2,429,000 2,450,000
 TBS 2,020,000 2,189,000 2,125,000 2,035,000
 TRU 1,177,000 1,278,000 1,260,000 1,348,000
 All Nets 2,354,000 2,485,000 2,566,000 2,567,000

Although persons 2+ are tracking exactly in line with last year, the important sports sales demographic of men 18-49 is actually tracking slightly lower than last year for CBS and TBS.  In contrast, TNT and TRU are slightly ahead of last year.  The four-network average for 2015 to date is a shade below the last few years.

NCAA Basketball Tournament: MEN 18-49 Rating Averages

through first Sunday (telecasts 1-52, excluding CBS afternoons)

2012 2013 2014 2015
CBS 2.77 2.66 2.70 2.54
TNT 0.98 1.15 1.27 1.32
TBS 1.13 1.22 1.21 1.05
TRU 0.69 0.70 0.66 0.73
All Nets 1.22 1.28 1.30 1.26


NEXT UPDATE: After the Tournament resumes Thursday, the next ratings update will be posted Friday afternoon.

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.