I sure expected the Kentucky – Connecticut game to be a ratings giant locally, but the 42.6 rating/62 share that the game got locally was off the charts. Last week’s game with North Carolina was the second-highest rating locally in history, according to WLKY’s Glenn Haygood, and it only got a 36.9.
Nationally, the game certainly won its time period, posting a number as high as 5.4, paltry compared with the local number, but the tournament’s overall numbers are better than they’ve been in years. Prior to Saturday’s game, the NCAA was very happy with the new arrangement that shared broadcasts with three cable networks, as the numbers overall were the highest in 18 years.
Here are preliminary numbers of how the game’s audience grew during the night:
4-5:55p CBS Final Four Show (6.9 / 13)
5:55-8:30p NCAA Basketball – VCU/Butler (29.6 / 47)
8:30-8:57p CBS Sports Coverage (33.5 / 48)
8:57-11:16p NCAA Basketball – UK/UConn (42.6 / 62)
11:16-11:28p CBS Post Game Coverage (29.0 / 47)
UPDATE: This, from a TV news web site:
If you are among those who believe CBS is disappointed by tonight’s less-than-prime-time matchup between Butler and Connecticut for the NCAAmen’s basketball championship, you would be wrong.
Butler’s 70-62 win over Virginia Commonwealth drew an 8.3 rating and averaged 14.2 million viewers Saturday night, and Connecticut’s 56-55 win over Kentucky in the second game got a 9.5 rating and pulled in 16.7 million viewers.
Overall ratings for the NCAA tournament are up more than 9% from last year.