2011 NCAA most-watched tournament since '05


CBS Sports’ and Turner Sports’ exclusive live coverage of the 2011 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship across TBS, CBS, TNT and truTV is the most-watched tournament since 2005, averaging 10.2 million total viewers, +7% from 9.5 million total viewers for CBS Sports’ 2010 coverage and is the highest viewer average for the NCAA Tournament since 10.6 million in 2005.  

The overall tournament average, including the FIRST FOUR(r), is a 6.4/14 rating/share, +7% from a 6.0/13 for 2010, according to Nielsen Fast Nationals.  The 6.4/14 is the highest average rating for the NCAA Tournament since a 6.9/15 in 2005.

“By every measure, the first year of Turner and CBS’s coverage of the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship was a success,” said David Levy, president of sales, distribution and sports, Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. “It was a terrific start for our partnership, and it formed a great foundation for the next 13 years. The ratings increases this year also proved that the new television format is more fan friendly than ever. With four national television networks, viewers were able to enjoy more games, coverage and analysis.”

“The excitement that built during the entire tournament resulted in terrific ratings,” said Sean McManus, Chairman, CBS Sports. “The new television format has been appreciated and accepted by the viewers. Although we are only in the first year of our 14-year partnership with Turner Sports, the success we’ve achieved with the best overall tournament ratings since 2005 bodes very well for the future.”

The overall tournament average delivered growth in key adult and male demos (000’s) over 2010, including:
A18-34   +21%   (2,329 vs. 1,925)
A18-49   +12%   (4,693 vs. 4,207)
A25-54     +7%   (4,844 vs. 4,510)
M18-34   +25%   (1,601 vs. 1,280)
M18-49   +14%   (3,251 vs. 2,843)
M25-54   +10%   (3,344 vs. 3,031)

Last night’s National Championship game on CBS on Monday, April 4, which saw Connecticut defeat Butler, earned an average fast-national household rating/share of 11.7/18 and averaged 20.1 million viewers.  Although down from last year, last night’s game was higher rated than two-out-of-the-last five Championship games (2009, 2006).  It was the second year in a row that Butler lost the national championship after last year’s Cinderella team had a heart-stopping loss to powerhouse Duke.

(Source: CBS –  Nielsen Media Research, based on Fast National Data, Live +SD data stream.  2011 NCAA Tournament Dates, include First Four telecast gross.  Dates of NCAA Tournament:  2011 3/15/11 – 4/4/11 vs. 2010 3/18/10 – 4/3/10.  2011 averages based on weighted average of 4 telecast gross across CBS, TBS, TNT and truTV.  Dates of the NCAA Tournament historical audiences, CBS 1994 through 2005 based on Live data.  2006 through 2010 based on Live + SD.  2003 based on CBS / ESPN average of First Round.)