Butler: Boon or Bane For NCAA Finals Ratings? (Historical Ratings + Poll)

Categories: Featured,TV Ratings Reference,TV Sports Ratings & News

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April 4th, 2011


Last year's NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament Final game produced a sharp uptick in viewership following 2009's near record low. The closeness of the game kept viewers interested all the way to the buzzer.

The unknown competitiveness of tonight's contest is the trickiest part of guessing the viewership for a single game. The NCAA tournament having been telecast on four networks this season is up nicely in overall viewership, and Butler's David-ish return to the Final to face Goliath-ish Connecticut is a nice narrative, but I don't think either of those factors matters as much as a close game does.

The Final could easily produce another viewership uptick if the game is close. But if the game turns into a blowout early, viewership will almost certainly suffer.

What's your guess?




NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament Viewership 1975-2010:

Year Through Regional Finals (million) Regional Finals (million) Championship Game (million) Finals Matchup
1975 30.08 UCLA vs KENTUCKY
1976 26.71 INDIANA vs MICHIGAN
1977 26.4 MARQUETTE vs NORTH CAROLINA
1978 25.38 KENTUCKY vs DUKE
1979 35.11 MICHIGAN ST vs INDIANA ST
1980 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 26.6 KENTUCKY vs UTAH
1999 26.3 CONNECTICUT vs DUKE
2000 20.59 MICHIGAN ST vs FLORIDA
2001 8.0 9.80 23.87 DUKE vs ARIZONA
2002 8.5 10.65 23.69 MARYLAND vs INDIANA
2003 7.2 8.46 18.57 SYRACUSE vs  KANSAS
2004 8.4 9.38 17.09 CONNECTICUT vs GEORGIA TECH
2005 9.7 12.38 23.9 NORTH CAROLINA vs ILLINOIS
2006 8.8 10.11 17.54 UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA vs UCLA
2007 8.3 9.20 19.56 UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA vs OHIO STATE
2008 8.0 9.02 19.5 KANSAS vs MEMPHIS
2009 17.6 NORTH CAROLINA vs MICHIGAN STATE
2010 23.94 BUTLER vs DUKE

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  1. NBC televised the game from 1975-1981, CBS from 1982-present.
  2. 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.
  3. 2006-10 data above is Live+SD, all other data is Live viewing.

Nielsen TV Ratings Data: ©2010 Nielsen Media Research, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

 
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