March 18, 2017

SKEDBALL: March Madness TV Ratings

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Written by: Mitch Metcalf
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Through Thursday, coverage of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament on CBS and the Turner networks (TNT, TBS and TruTV) is averaging almost 9.2 million viewers 2+ live+same day across the four networks in an average minute. That is up +9% from last year’s recent low of 8.4 million for the same games and up +2% from the 2012-2016 average.  These numbers include two prime time games on CBS Thursday (the two afternoon CBS game ratings will be available Monday), four Thursday games each on TNT and TBS, and eight games on TruTV (four play-in games on Tuesday and Wednesday and four Thursday games).  Although TBS coverage is down versus recent years, the other three networks are experiencing big increases, especially versus last year.  In a season that has seen declines in most dayparts and programming genres, this is a very encouraging start.

NCAA March Madness P2+ 2012-2017 thru 20 excl 5-6

In the male 18-49 demographic on which most sports advertising is sold, the March Madness games to date are scoring a 3.78 M18-49 rating live+same day in an average minute across the four networks, down a small -2% from last year but down a more significant -16% from the 2012-2016 average.  The television audience continues to age, but these are still sizable audiences in a hard to reach demographic segment. TNT coverage to date is up significantly this year with M18-49, while CBS and TruTV are up more moderately versus last year.  TBS is the big decliner this year, although some of these differences might even out in the coming days depending on game match-ups.

NCAA March Madness M18-49 2012-2017 thru 20 excl 5-6


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.