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Ratings: NCAA Scores One Shining Moment for CBS

Epic championship scores blockbuster ratings, up 30 percent vs. last year

Monday’s Duke-Butler NCAA championship was close on the court– but a blow-out in the Nielsen ratings.

The down-to-the-wire matchup attracted an average audience of 23.9 million viewers Monday, according to Nielsen. That’s up nearly 30 percent from last year’s tune-in. (CBS Sports, oddly, chose to focus on the less-used all-or-part viewer figure in its ratings release, even though the game was only up 17 percent by that misleading metric. Go figure.)

Among adults 18-49, the Duke-Butler game earned an 8.2/22, a more than 30 percent jump. By any score, this was the biggest NCAA finale in more than a decade.

The awesomeness of the matchup clearly helped, but Monday’s game also fits in with a pattern this season of Big Events doing very well with viewers. All the major awards shows have been up, and the Super Bowl also saw major gains.