March Madness Ratings Surge Past Last Year

by Cate Lecuyer Marian  |  04.04.2017

North Carolina’s victory against Gonzaga in Monday’s NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament National Championship game was also a victory for CBS.

The network saw a 21 percent jump in ratings compared to 2016 from that game alone, and finished its overall March Madness coverage with a clear win for viewership. CBS Sports scored a 14.5 rating among Nielsen’s metered-market households, locking in the final game as the third highest-rated national championship since 2005.

Broadcasters felt a collective high, with average ratings up 13 percent across CBS, TBS, TNT and TruTV.

While that spike speaks to linear growth, CBS also saw a significant climb in streaming with March Madness Live pulling in a record-setting 4.4 million live video streams for the championship game, up 29 percent from 2016.

Overall, the tournament netted nearly 100 million live video streams for a 33 percent increase.

And social also saw a boost, with March Madness garnering 74 million engagements for a 42 percent increase.

Here are the top five metered markets from Monday’s championship:

1. Raleigh-Durham – 33.8/52

2. Greensboro-High Point-Winston Salem – 31.7/47

3. Charlotte – 30.1/46

4. Seattle-Tacoma – 24.5/43

5. Louisville – 23.5/38

Facing strong competition from the NCAA, NBC’s The Voice came in number two for Monday night with an average 2.1 rating among 18-49-year-olds and 9.8 million viewers. ABC’s Dancing With the Stars drew a 1.6 rating in the key demographic and 10.3 million viewers. And Fox’s 24:Legacy pulled a 0.8 rating.


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