2008 Final Down Slightly From 2007
Update April 8, 2008: The final drew 19.50 million viewers. Click the link for more numbers regarding the 2008 final.
Update April 15, 2008: The chart and table have been updated.
I've been hooked onsince my college days at Virginia (which started about the same time as this chart), and I've watched as much of the NCAA Men's basketball tournament every year as I possibly could. However, looking at the fairly constant TV ratings of the championship game, around 30 million viewers from 1975-1994 and then the steep drop to around 20 million since 2003, I wondered what the heck happened starting in 1995? I can't figure it out, maybe someone else out there knows something that I don't. Give it your best shot in the comments.
Here is the full data and some additional facts:
|Year||Avg. Through Regional Finals (million)||Championship Game (million)||Finals Matchup|
|1975||30.08||UCLA vs KENTUCKY|
|1976||26.71||INDIANA vs MICHIGAN|
|1977||26.40||MARQUETTE vs NORTH CAROLINA|
|1978||25.38||KENTUCKY vs DUKE|
|1979||35.11||MICHIGAN ST vs INDIANA ST|
|1980||no data||LOUISVILLE vs UCLA|
|1981||29.06||INDIANA vs NORTH CAROLINA|
|1982||30.59||NORTH CAROLINA vs GEORGETOWN|
|1983||32.14||NC STATE vs HOUSTON|
|1984||25.14||GEORGETOWN vs HOUSTON|
|1985||31.23||VILLANOVA vs GEORGETOWN|
|1986||28.71||LOUISVILLE vs DUKE|
|1987||32.06||INDIANA vs SYRACUSE|
|1988||26.69||KANSAS vs OKLAHOMA|
|1989||31.12||MICHIGAN vs SETON HALL|
|1990||29.26||UNLV vs DUKE|
|1991||29.02||DUKE vs KANSAS|
|1992||34.31||DUKE vs MICHIGAN|
|1993||32.94||NORTH CAROLINA vs MICHIGAN|
|1994||32.73||ARKANSAS vs DUKE|
|1995||27.41||UCLA vs ARKANSAS|
|1996||26.67||KENTUCKY vs SYRACUSE|
|1997||28.36||ARIZONA vs KENTUCKY|
|1998||26.60||KENTUCKY vs UTAH|
|1999||26.30||CONNECTICUT vs DUKE|
|2000||20.59||MICHIGAN ST vs FLORIDA|
|2001||8.0||23.87||DUKE vs ARIZONA|
|2002||8.5||23.69||MARYLAND vs INDIANA|
|2003||7.2||18.57||SYRACUSE vs KANSAS|
|2004||8.4||17.09||CONNECTICUT vs GEORGIA TECH|
|2005||9.7||23.90||NORTH CAROLINA vs ILLINOIS|
|2006||8.8||17.54||FLORIDA vs UCLA|
|2007||8.3||19.56||FLORIDA vs OHIO STATE|
|2008||19.50||KANSAS vs MEMPHIS|
|2009||17.60||NORTH CAROLINA vs MICHIGAN STATE|
- NBC televised the game from 1975-1981, CBS from 1982-present.
- Since 1975, the NCAA Championship Final game has always been on a Monday night, starting between 8-9pm Eastern until 1991 since then it's started at 9:15 Eastern every year except 1995 when it started at 8:30pm.
- 2006 & 2007 data above is Live+SD, all other data is Live viewing.
Nielsen TV Ratings Data: ©2008 Nielsen Media Research, Inc. All Rights Reserved.