March Madness TV Ratings: Tourney Hits 21-Year High Through Sunday

Posted by | March 24, 2014 at 11:59 PM

Though up only slightly from last year, the 2014 NCAA Tournament is on its best pace since the early 1990s.

The NCAA Tournament averaged a combined 5.9 U.S. rating and 9.2 million viewers on CBS, TBS, TNT and TruTV through Sunday, according to Nielsen fast-nationals — up a tick in ratings and 4% in viewership from last year (5.8, 8.9M), and up 5% and 13%, respectively, from 2012 (5.6, 8.2M).

The rating is tied as the highest for the NCAA Tournament through the opening Sunday since 1997, and viewership stands as the highest through this point since 1993.

All four of Saturday’s third round windows increased over last year. In particular, the early primetime window scored 13.8 million viewers, up 27% from last year and the largest audience for the window since 1991. The late primetime window drew 13.2 million, up 5% and the largest audience since ’93.

CBS and Turner Sports did not disclose viewership for Sunday’s telecast windows, an indication that the numbers may have declined from last year.

(This year’s numbers from Turner Sports)