Over 28 Million Watch Duke-Wisconsin on …. CBS

CBS ends 34 years of consecutively airing the NCAA Division I Men’s Championship Game on a high note. After last year’s game between UConn and Kentucky which averaged a 12.5/20 final rating/share, this year’s contest pitting Duke and Wisconsin saw a rise of 28% to 16.0/28.

Viewership also saw a big jump as Duke-Wisconsin averaged 28.3 million viewers, an astounding number which is 7 million more people and 33% better than last year’s game. In fact, this is the most-viewed National Championship game since 1997 when Arizona-Kentucky averaged 28.4 million.

In the final quarter-hour, CBS saw the game peak at 18.7/32 and a whopping 33.4 million viewers.

And CBS/Turner is proud to note that this year’s NCAA Tournament is the most watched since 1993 as the 67 games averaged 11.3 million viewers. That number is up 8% from last year.

And the March Madness Live online experience saw almost 81 million live video streams and close to 18 million hours of video viewing. Last night’s game had 3.4 million streams.

Here’s the official announcement:


Duke-Wisconsin National Championship Game Averages 28.3 Million Viewers; Highest Average Viewership in 18 Years
NCAA March Madness Live Sets All-Time Record with 80.7 Million Live Video Streams & 17.8 Million Hours of Live Video Consumption

The 2015 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball National Championship across TBS, CBS, TNT and truTV is the most-watched NCAA Tournament in 22 years, according to Nielsen Fast National ratings.  The 2015 NCAA Tournament averaged 11.3 million total viewers, up 8% from last year (10.5 million viewers), and is the highest average viewership for the NCAA Tournament in 22 years (12.7 million; 1993).

The National Championship game, which saw Duke defeat Wisconsin, averaged 28.3 million total viewers, up 33% from last year (21.3 million) and is the most-viewed NCAA title game in 18 years (28.4 million; Arizona/Kentucky in 1997).  The Duke/Wisconsin game earned an average fast national household rating/share of 16.0/26, up 28% from last year’s 12.5/20 (Connecticut/Kentucky).

The Championship game broadcast peaked with a HH rating/share of 18.7/32 and 33.4 million average viewers from 11:00-11:15 PM, ET.

This year’s NCAA Tournament averaged a HH rating/share of 7.0/15, up 8% from last year (6.5/13).

Additionally, NCAA March Madness Live generated several all-time records including 80.7 million live video streams and 17.8 million hours of live video consumption during this year’s tournament. This year’s live video streams are up 17% over last year, with hours of live video consumption up 19% this year.  NCAA March Madness Live also delivered all-time records for Monday’s National Championship with 3.4 million live video streams and one million hours of live video consumption.

The NCAA Tournament grossed a record 350 million total social impressions across Facebook and Twitter for a 45% increase over 2014.

Source: Nielsen Media Research, Arianna, Live +SD data stream. 3/18/14 – 4/7/14 vs. 3/17/15 – 4/6/15.   2014, 2013, 2012 and 2011 averages based on weighted average of 4 telecast gross across TBS, CBS, TNT and truTV. Historical audiences, CBS 1991 through 2005 based on Live data. Conviva, Adobe Analytics for digital metrics. Facebook Insights and Twitter for social analytics.

And that is all.

About Ken Fang

Ken has been covering the sports media in earnest at his own site, Fang's Bites since May 2007 and at Awful Announcing since March 2013. He provides a unique perspective having been an award-winning radio news reporter in Providence and having worked in local television. Fang celebrates the three Boston Red Sox World Championships in the 21st Century, but continues to be a long-suffering Cleveland Browns fan.