The ratings are officially in from this weekend’s NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament games, and they are through the roof.
According to a release from CBS and Turner Sports, the Sweet 16 had its best viewership in nearly 30 years.
Overall, the viewership across CBS and TBS for the regional semifinals was also up 12 percent from 2019, the last year the tournament was held.
CBS Sports & Turner Sports deliver best viewership for Sweet 16 since 1993 pic.twitter.com/YL9JfGqxe9
— March Madness TV (@MarchMadnessTV) March 30, 2021
The fact that the Sweet 16 was held on Saturday and Sunday instead of its customary Thursday/Friday scheduling likely influenced these numbers. There was no overlapping of games either.
Of course, with the Elite Eight on Monday and Tuesday–instead of Saturday and Sunday, like usual–there’s a chance that the ratings from this round will be down compared to past years. It will be interesting to see the tale of the tape later this week.
Fans and media members debated these points following the release of the ratings numbers this morning.
Worth noting. Before this year, regional semifinals were played Thursday and Friday nights and games are concurrent. This year they were Saturday and Sunday and in their own separate windows. https://t.co/j0kkTDJQZy
— Erick Smith (@ericksmith) March 30, 2021
*Games were played on weekend, not Thur-Fri night
**Games were played in their own window, not overlapped.
***Waiting on tomorrow's release showing lowest Elite 8 1964 https://t.co/tI1zTWaTTv
— Billy Witz (@billywitz) March 30, 2021
wait I thought it was going to be a down year cause none of the traditional powerhouses were involved https://t.co/iz4uc43KN7
— Slipper Still Fits (@slipperstillfit) March 30, 2021
Prediction: They will keep the current format of Rounds 1-2 and Sweet 16 on Sat-Sun as more games would fall on the weekends so higher daytime hours ratings https://t.co/DD9ZuMd3xR
— Barry Geraghty (@bgeraght) March 30, 2021
This while ratings for other sports are down. But Mark Emmert has the NCAA locked into a bad long term TV deal. If NCAA could open up the bidding to ESPN and FOX it would easily make up for last year's losses. https://t.co/LE3Xj6Phw0
— Shane Mettlen (@Shane_DNRSports) March 30, 2021
The 2021 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament continues tonight with two more Elite Eight games. The Final Four begins on Saturday.