Duke/UNC Earns ESPN’s Fourth-Best Men’s College Hoops Audience


The Duke/North Carolina rivalry attracted one of the largest audiences ever for a college basketball game on ESPN.

Saturday’s Duke/North Carolina game earned a 2.7 U.S. rating and 4.247 million viewers on ESPN, flat in ratings and down 8% in viewership from last year’s comparable meeting between the teams (DUKE/UNC: 2.7, 4.611M, CBS), and up 69% and 70%, respectively, from the comparable meeting in 2010 (UNC/DUKE: 1.6, 2.498M, ESPN).

The game ranks as the fourth-most viewed men’s college basketball game on ESPN since at least 1990, behind only Duke/North Carolina in March 2006 (4.702M), Tennessee/Memphis in February 2008 (5.281M), and North Carolina/Duke in March 2008 (5.612M).

For the week, Duke/North Carolina ranked as the sixth-highest rated (tie) and ninth most-viewed program on cable television.

The first matchup between Duke and North Carolina this season earned a 2.2 and 3.121 million viewers. This marks the first time since the 2008-09 season that both Duke/North Carolina regular season games have drawn at least a 2.0 rating.

(Saturday’s numbers obtained from Bloomberg and Media Life Magazine, with additional information from ESPN)