For years, CBS hosted a one hour Selection Sunday show to kick off the first week of the NCAA Tournament that was brisk and effective, unveiling the bracket quickly before providing some analysis. In an attempt to draw out the ratings, CBS expanded the show to two hours this year, adding in analysts like Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith who admittedly have not watched much college basketball this season, and taking 1:17 to reveal the full 68-team field. The show was unbelievably sloppy, and to top it all off, the bracket leaked online less than halfway through the show. As a result, CBS took a massive hit in the ratings.
According to SportsBusiness Daily editor Austin Karp, yesterday’s debacle was the lowest rated Selection Sunday special in around two decades.
CBS drew a 3.7 overnight rating for NCAA Selection Show. Lowest in around 20 years. First-ever 2-hour format in 2016. Also had bracket leak.
— Austin Karp (@AustinKarp) March 14, 2016
This wasn’t quite the New Year’s Eve College Football Playoff, but it was definitely a bad result for CBS all-around. The show was being lampooned on social media, without even taking into account the leaked bracket factor. Hopefully next year they go back to the one-hour format that has worked so well, but we wouldn’t bet on it.