Mar 20, 2012, 1:38 PM EST
Despite just one day of upsets, NCAA tournament TV ratings essentially matched last year’s numbers, which were the highest for the event since 1991.
Ratings for the round of 64 (Thursday-Friday) and round of 32 (Saturday-Sunday), averaged a 5.6 fast-national, according to John Ourand of CBS. Only Friday featured a slate of wild upsets – two 15 seeds won, as did a 13 – but several games were close, which likely boosted ratings.
The staggered TV times, now in their second year, also likely helped.
The tournament also turned in the highest-rated cable slot among sporting events. Kansas’ thrilling rally vs. Purdue Sunday night averaged 4.4 million viewers, better than Heat-Bulls and Knicks-Bulls. Those were the only three sports in cable’s top 40.
Indiana’s win vs. VCU on Saturday and Louisville’s Saturday win over New Mexico both averaged about 3 million viewers.
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