NCAA ratings up despite second-lowest audience for title game

League: NCAA Basketball

Posted on: 10 Apr, 2024 at 12:47 AM

Credit: Patrick Breen/The Republic / USA TODAY NETWORK

Viewership was up 3 percent over last year for all rounds of the NCAA Tournament, but repeat champion UConn's victory over Purdue in the title game Monday didn't come close to the record-setting audience for the women's championship a day earlier.

The women's basketball final, with the undefeated South Carolina women topping Iowa and superstar Caitlin Clark, outdrew the men for the first time with an all-time high of 18.87 million watching Sunday afternoon on ABC and ESPN.

UConn's 75-60 win over Purdue, which started at 9:20 p.m. ET and was shown on TNT/TBS/truTV, attracted 14.82 million viewers, according to Nielsen. While the second-lowest audience for the men's title game, it was still an increase from the low of 14.69 million in 2023 for Big East Conference power UConn's victory over surprising San Diego State on CBS.

The 67 games of the men's tournament, featuring more traditional powers and teams from power conferences into the second weekend, as a whole was up 3 percent over 2023, averaging a combined 9.9 million viewers across CBS, TNT, truTV and TBS.

Other recent ratings for the men's championship game, per Sports Business Journal: 2022, Kansas vs. North Carolina, 17.052 million on TBS/TNT/truTV; 2021, 16.922 million for Baylor-Gonzaga on CBS; 2020, no game due to COVID-19; 2019, 19.630 million for Virginia-Texas Tech on CBS.

--Field Level Media