Ratings Roundup: Through Elite 8, March Madness on CBS, Turner Nets Draws Most Viewers Since 1994

CBS Sports and Turner Sports’ coverage of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship across TBS, CBS, TNT and truTV is averaging 9.7 million total viewers-to-date, up 11% from last year’s 8.72 million viewers, and is the highest average for the NCAA Tournament through the Sunday Regional Finals in 19 years (9.73 million; 1994). The 2013 NCAA Tournament to date is averaging a national HH rating/share of 6.2/13, up 9% from last year’s 5.7/12, and is the highest rating to date since a 6.3/14 in 2005.

Last sunday’s Regional Final coverage on CBS averaged 12,819,000 total viewers, based on Nielsen Fast Nationals, up 31% from last year’s 9,795,000 viewers. Regional Final coverage on Sunday earned a HH rating/share of a 7.4/17, up 25% from last year’s 5.9/12. The first broadcast window (2:19-4:28 PM, ET), in which Michigan topped Florida, earned a 5.7/15, up 14% from a 5.0/11 in 2012.  The second broadcast window (4:55-7:34 PM, ET) which featured Louisville beating Duke, registered an 8.8/19, up 24% from a 7.1/14 in 2012…

…Comcast SportsNet Chicago delivered huge television ratings for the White Sox season opener on April 1, earning a record 3.42 household rating for its live coverage of the team’s1-0 shutout over the Royals, the highest White Sox “season opener” game rating in Chicago RSN television history (previous high on April 7, 2009 vs. Kansas City – 3.23 household rating on Comcast SportsNet). The game attracted approx. 119,180 households for the entire game and scored a 4.12 peak rating during the 4:00 PM quarter-hour (over 143,570 households tuning in). In addition, Comcast SportsNet also carried the Blackhawks win on April 1, totaling an anaudience of over 326,000 Chicago market TV households between the two live pro event telecasts…

…While Turner Field boasted the Braves highest Opening Day attendance since 2010 with 51,456 on hand, FOX Sports South reports that it posted the channel’s highest rating for a Braves game in over 12 years with an 8.87, and a peak rating of 11.25 in the 10p quarter-hour. The Braves have not had a higher rated Opening Day game since April 3, 2000, against the Colorado Rockies, which registered an 11.80 for TBS…

…The USA-Mexico FIFA World Cup qualifying match on March 26 was seen by an average 2.385 million viewers, 1.644 million households based on a 1.4 U.S. household rating (1.7 coverage rating), making it the most-watched and highest-rated FIFA World Cup qualifying match (or international friendly) telecast on an ESPN network. Viewers for the Mexico-USA match doubled the audience for USA vs. Mexico (Feb. 11, 2009), which set the previous ESPN records for viewership – 1.191 million viewers, 795,000 households, based on a 0.7 household U.S. rating on ESPN2…

…Led by the World Baseball Classic and Spring Training coverage, MLB Network saw its 2013 first quarter prime time viewership grow by 149% over the same quarter a year ago. In addition, March 2013 ranked as the network’s most-watched month ever with an average of 254,000 viewers in prime time…

…Coming off 2012 as the most-watched year in its 18-year history, Golf Channel has carried the momentum into 2013 with its most-watched quarter ever. For 24-hour Total Day (6AM-6AM), 129,000 average viewers per minute were tuned into Golf Channel in first quarter 2013, representing a 10% year-over-year increase compared to first quarter 2012 (117,000), 29% vs. first quarter 2011 (100,000) and 90% vs. first quarter 2010 (68,000), according to data released today by the Nielsen Company. March 2013 logged the network’s most-watched March mark with 138,000 average viewers per minute for 24-hour Total Day (6 AM-6 AM). The network’s top shows, including Morning Drive (up 20% over 2012 and up 83% over 2011), Haney Project: Michael Phelps, and Feherty (up 21% vs. 2012 and up 62% vs. 2011) also had big first quarters.