2013 NCAA Tournament Most-Watched First Week in 20 Years

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Harvard NCAA Tournament

via press release:



 First Week of Tournament Averages 8.9 Million Total Viewers and Delivers 7% Ratings Growth


Sunday’s Third-Round Coverage is Highest Rated in 13 Years, Up 27%


CBS Sports and Turner Sports’ exclusive live coverage of the 2013 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship across TBS, CBS, TNT and truTV combined to deliver the most-viewed first week of the NCAA Tournament in 20 years (1993), according to Nielsen Fast National ratings.


The combined coverage averaged 8.9 million total viewers, up 9% over last year’s 8.2 million.


The 2013 NCAA Tournament is averaging a HH rating/share of 5.8/12, up 7% from a 5.4/12 last year, and is the highest average rating for the Tournament’s first week in 15 years (1998; 5.9/15).


Sunday’s coverage averaged 11.1 million viewers, up 29% from last year’s 8.6 million, making it the most watched first Sunday in 15 years.


Third-round coverage on Sunday, March 24 combined to deliver an average fast national HH rating/share of 7.1/14, up 27% from last year’s 5.6/11. The 7.1/14 is the highest rating for the first Sunday of the Tournament in 13 years (7.2/17; 2000).


Third-round coverage on Sunday, March 24 scored with ratings increases across all four telecast windows:


Ÿ  The first daytime telecast window (12:00-2:41 PM, ET) averaged a 5.0/12, up 39% over last year’s 3.6/9, the highest rating for the window in 11 years (5.2/13; 2002).


Ÿ  The second daytime telecast window (2:57-5:18 PM, ET) averaged a 6.8/14, up 26% over last year’s 5.4/12, the highest rating for the window since 2006 (7.0/16).


Ÿ  The first primetime telecast window (5:18-9:20 PM, ET) averaged a 10.9/20, up 31% over last year’s 8.3/16, the highest rating for the window in 20 years (12.6/27; 1993).


Ÿ  The second primetime window (8:01 PM-12:12 AM, ET) averaged a 5.9/10, up 4% vs. a 5.7/9 in 2012.


Social Buzz

Additionally, according to Bluefin, the opening week of the NCAA Tournament generated over 6.3 million comments across social media with comment volume up 154% over the same period last year.


Source: Nielsen Media Research, based on Fast National Data, Live +SD data stream. 3/19/13 to  03/24/13 vs. 03/13/12 to 03/18/12.   2013, 2012 and 2011 averages based on weighted average of 4 telecast gross across CBS, TBS, TNT and truTV. Historical audiences, CBS 1991 through 2005 based on Live data. 2006 through 2012 based on Live + SD. 2003 based on CBS / ESPN average of First Round.  Social Media data based on Bluefin for the same dates of the Tournament. 


Follow us on Twitter: @MarchMadnessTV for schedule updates and the latest NCAA Tournament broadcast news and information and with #MarchMadness


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