The First Round Of This Year’s NCAA Tournament Was The Most-Viewed

The 2023 NCAA basketball tournament brought in some big television ratings. According to Sports Business Journal, this year’s men’s tournament was one of the most-watched in recent years. 

“CBS, truTV, TBS and TNT averag[ed] 9.2 million viewers. Friday was the best First Round on record with an average of 9.3 million across the four windows during the day on the four networks,” according to Sports Business Journal.  “In early primetime on Friday, highlighted by No. 16 Fairleigh Dickinson’s upset of No. 1 Purdue and the Kentucky-Providence game, the window averaged 11.7 million viewers, which is the best mark yet for that window. Thursday averaged 8.35 million viewers for all windows, the best first day in eight years.” 

It’s not clear what has caused the rise in viewers of the men’s tournament, but the first day of the tournament was up 2% from day one of the tournament in 2022.

“The early afternoon window on Thursday averaged 6.8 million across the combo of TNT, TBS, CBS and truTV, marking the best figure for that window on record and up 15% from last year,” according to Sports Business Journal. “For individual games on Thursday, CBS’ Tennessee-Louisiana was the best matchup in the 9:40 pm ET window, averaging 3.48 million. On cable on Thursday, TNT’s Auburn-Iowa in the 6:42 pm window was tops with 3.44 million.” 

The Sweet 16 begins tomorrow (March 23) with Michigan State (7) vs. Kansas St. (3); FL Atlantic (9) vs. Tennessee (4); San Diego ST .(5) vs. Alabama (1); Arkansas (8) vs. UConn (4); Gonzaga (3) vs. UCLA (2); and Miami (5) vs. Houston (1). 

Every March Madness there are upsets. No. 1 seeds fall short in the first round. This year is no different. Purdue, Arizona, and Virginia, No. 1., No. 2., and No. 4 seeds, respectively, were knocked out of the tournament. 

According to CNN, when Fairleigh Dickinson upset Purdue, it was only the second time in March Madness history that a No.16 seed beat a No. 1 seed.