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March Madness Final Becomes Most Viewed Ever On Pay-TV

UNC Kansas March Madness NCAA basketball 2022 final

March Madness Final Becomes Most Viewed Ever On Pay-TV

WarnerMedia-owned broadcast company, Turner Sports, has revealed the average audience for the NCAA men’s basketball tournament (March Madness) final was 18.1 million viewers, marking a new record for the final on pay-TV in the US.

Despite the success of the final between the University of Kansas and the University of North Carolina (UNC) in broadcast ratings, the semi-final during the 2022 tournament between UNC and Duke drew 18.5 million viewers.

Looking broadly over the history of the entire tournament in US pay-TV broadcasts, the recent final now ranks third for all time viewership, behind the recent semi-final in second place, and the 2015 Final Four matchup between Kentucky and Wisconsin, which drew 22.6 million viewers.

The 2022 tournament as a whole drew in an average of 10.7 million viewers per game, increase 13% on the 2021 edition, with the final for 2022 increasing 4% on the 2021 final between Baylor and Gonzaga, which drew 16.9 million viewers.

The 2022 tournament in total also managed to bring in the highest share of total TV viewers since the 1994 edition.

The NCAA women’s basketball tournament, on the other hand, also delivered strong broadcast ratings, with ESPN confirming average viewership for the final was up 18% on the 2021 edition and 30% on 2019’s tournament.

The women’s tournament final between South Carolina and Connecticut managed to bring in an average audience of 4.85 million, which peaked at 5.91 million, ranking as the fourth largest audience since ESPN began covering the tournament in 1996.

The women’s tournament, overall, delivered ESPN the highest ratings for the event since the 2004 edition.

The release of the broadcast ratings for both tournaments come immediately after Hive and Elevate Sport Ventures released the findings of a study showing the men’s and women’s tournaments generated over US$410 million for brands exposed within telecasts.

The report showed brands earned more than 187 hours of cumulative brand exposure, with official NCAA sponsors, equipment providers, and uniform sponsors receiving 94% of in-game exposure in the men’s tournament, and 76% of in-game exposure in the women’s tournament, throughout 134 games.

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