The Opening Rounds Of The NCAA Tournament Get Big TV Ratings

Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports via Reuters

David Hookstead Sports And Entertainment Editor
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The opening rounds of the NCAA Tournament put up some huge TV ratings.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the Thursday-Sunday games on CBS, TBS, TNT and TruTV averaged 8.5 million viewers. (RELATED: David Hookstead Is The True King In The North When It Comes To College Football)


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That was a slight 3% decline from 2019 and a 3% bump from 2018. It’s worth noting that generally speaking, the opening round games would start Thursday and the play-in games would be earlier in the week.

This year, the play-in games were Thursday and the full tournament started Friday with the Round of 32 ending Monday.


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I’m curious as to how much of an impact shifting the days around had on the ratings. Watching play-in games on a Thursday night isn’t normal at all, and watching Round of 32 games on a Monday is something I’ve never had to do before.

It certainly wasn’t the schedule we’re used to but, it was still a ton of fun.


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The fact that the games put up such huge ratings is also a clear sign that March Madness hasn’t dropped off one bit.

The ratings for the NBA championship in 2020 were nothing short of an unmitigated disaster as they bottomed out. Yet, America still loves college basketball!

These ratings are also a pretty great sign that the numbers as we advance through the tournament will also be huge. You just love to see so much winning!