Ratings Roundup: Overall CBS, Turner Tourney Ratings Highest Since 2005

CBS and Turner Sports’ combined coverage of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament on TBS, CBS, TNT, and TruTV is scoring the largest March Madness audience since 2005, averaging 9.4 million total viewers. That is up 11% from 8.5 million total viewers for CBS Sports’ 2010 coverage. According to Nielsen Fast Nationals, ratings are also at a six-year high as the overall tournament average-to-date (including the First Four) is a 6.0/13 rating/share. That is up 11% from a 5.4/12 in 2010 and is the highest average rating through the Sunday regional finals since a 6.3/14 in 2005.

Coverage of the regional finals on CBS on Sunday, March 27 averaged 12.6 million total viewers,  up 6% from 11.9 million viewers from CBS Sports’ coverage in 2010.  This year’s 12.6 million is the highest viewer average for the Sunday regional finals since 2005 (UNC-Wisconsin and a double-overtime Michigan State-Kentucky game).  Sunday’s regional finals earned a household rating/share of 7.6/16, even with 2010…

…NESN’s coverage of the Boston Bruins 7-0 win over the Montreal Canadiens on March 24 delivered a 6.6 household rating, making it the highest-rated regular season game in the network’s 27 years covering the Bruins. NESN’s previous regular season ratings record was a 6.2 household rating for the March, 18, 2010 game against the Pittsburgh Penguins at TD Garden. Despite going up directly against the NCAA tournament in primetime, NESN was the No. 1-rated network in the Boston DMA in Men 25-54, No. 2 in Adults 18-49, and  No. 3 in Households and Adults 25-54…

…ESPN notched an 11-year high for an NCAA Women’s Tournament game through the Sweet 16 with Connecticut’s close win on Sunday. Connecticut’s comeback victory over Georgetown in the NCAA Tournament Sweet Sixteen earned a 1.2 overnight rating on ESPN, the highest since 2000. Sunday’s game edged the previous high of 1.1, set on multiple occasions. However, Connecticut’s loss to Stanford in December, which snapped their 90-game winning streak and drew a 1.5 overnight.
FOX earned a 4.1 overnight rating for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Auto Club 500 from Fontana, down a 1% from last year’s fifth race of the season (Bristol: 4.2) and a whopping 18% from last year’s Auto Club 500, which aired in February (5.0). After the first three Sprint Cup races of the season had increases in overnight ratings, the last two have suffered declines.