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Duke Win Scores 28.3 Million Viewers, Biggest NCAA Tournament Championship Game in 18 Years (Updated)

Overall, the men’s tournament nets most viewers in 22 years

Updated 2:08 p.m. PT: Duke’s win over Wisconsin attracted the NCAA Tournament Championship’s biggest audience numbers in 18 years, averaging 28.3 million viewers per Nielsen’s fast national numbers. That haul is up 33 percent from last year.

Overall, the men’s tournament averaged 11.3 million total viewers, up eight percent from 2014. That’s the highest mark in 22 years.

TheWrap reported overnight numbers earlier, which readers can view below.


Don’t be surprised to see CBS Sports employees cutting down some nets of their own this morning: The NCAA Tournament Men’s National Championship Game on Monday night scored its highest overnight rating in 18 years.

The CBS broadcast earned a 17.1 household rating/27 share, as Duke edged Wisconsin in a borderline nail-biter. The last time the tournament final bested those numbers was in 1997, when an Arizona-Kentucky matchup received an 18.0/28, according to Nielsen’s metered market ratings.

This year’s game was up 33 percent over Connecticut-Kentucky last year. The Blue Devils victory last night peaked with a 20.1/34 during the 11:00-11:30 p.m. ET half-hour.

Here are the Top 5 rated metered markets for last night’s game:
1. Milwaukee – 42.2/59
2. Raleigh-Durham – 36.2/54
3. Louisville – 33.5/48
4. Columbus – 29.9/44
5. Greensboro-High Point-Winston Salem – 29.5/43

Additionally, “NCAA March Madness Live” netted a record-setting 3.4 million live video streams for last night’s NCAA Championship game and nearly one million hours of live video consumed, also an all-time record.

Last night’s live video streams were up 66 percent, with the live hours of consumption up 69 percent over last year. “NCAA March Madness Live” generated 80.7 million live video streams and 17.8 million hours of live video consumption during this year’s tournament, both all-time highs. This year’s live video streams were up 17 percent, with live hours of consumption accounting for a 19 percent increase.

Overall, 2015 NCAA Tournament coverage across TBS, CBS, TNT and truTV averaged a 7.8/16 overnight rating/share, up 13 percent to the best overnight rating in 22 years (7.9/17 in 1993).

The NCAA Tournament grossed a record 350 million total social impressions across Facebook and Twitter, a 45 percent increase over 2014.