Final Four: After Low Overnight, Kentucky/Kansas Finishes With Solid TV Audience


Though the numbers are still among the lowest in the history of the event, Monday’s NCAA Tournament title game finished with much more respectable numbers than the overnights indicated.

The Kentucky/Kansas NCAA Tournament National Championship Game drew a 12.3 rating and 20.9 million viewers on CBS Monday night, according to Nielsen fast-nationals, up 5% in ratings and 4% in viewership from last year (CONN/BUTLER: 11.7, 20.055M), but down 13% in both measures compared to 2010 (DUKE/BUTLER: 14.2, 23.944M).

The game ranks as the fourth-highest rated and third-most viewed NCAA Tournament title game of the past decade.

The 12.3 fast-national rating for Monday’s game marks a 2% increase from the 12.1 overnight. While overnight ratings for most sporting events decline from the overnight to the final, both the NCAA Tournament and BCS championship games this year had increases.

Overall, Kentucky/Kansas ranks as the seventh-lowest rated title game dating back to 1975, ahead of only 2007 (FLA/OSU: 12.2), 2008 (KU/MEM: 12.1), 2011 (CONN/BUTLER: 11.7), 2006 (FLA/UCLA: 11.2), 2004 (CONN/GT: 11.0), and 2009 (10.8).

The game also ranks as the ninth-least viewed dating back to 1980.

Compared to other sports, Monday’s game outdrew four of this year’s five BCS title games, five of the seven games of last year’s World Series, five of the six games of last year’s NBA Finals, and assorted marquee events such as the Daytona 500 (8.0, 13.669M) and the final round of last year’s Masters golf tournament (9.5, 15.257M).

(Monday’s fast-national numbers obtained from Sports Business Daily)