Kansas’ Epic Comeback Draws 18 Million – Deadline
Last night’s NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball National Championship Game, which saw Kansas defeat North Carolina 72-69, was the most-watched NCAA Men’s Championship game on television by cable. The Kansas-UNC game averaged 18.1 million viewers, based on total viewership. That’s a 4% increase from last year’s national championship game between Baylor and Gonzaga.
It didn’t hurt that the No. 1-seeded Jayhawks staged the biggest halftime comeback in league game history, going from 15 to a 3-point margin of victory. .
Television coverage by CBS Sports and Turner Sports on TBS, TNT, and truTV makes Kansas-North Carolina the third most-watched college basketball game in cable television history. Saturday’s UNC-Duke Final Four National Semi-Final, featuring legendary Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski’s final game, averaged 18.5 million viewers. This ranks him second all-time.
The 2022 NCAA Men’s Tournament broadcast on TBS, CBS, TNT and truTV averaged 10.7 million total viewers and a 17.0 share (the percentage of households or viewers watching TV at that time there) for its 67 live game shows. Both measures are up 13% from last year. The 17.0 share is the best for the entire NCAA Men’s Tournament since 1994.
Sunday’s 2022 NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Championship Game, with South Carolina’s wire-to-wire victory, drew 4.85 million viewers to become the most-watched women’s title game since 2004 It was the fourth-largest audience to watch a women’s championship game since ESPN began exclusively broadcasting the NCAA Division I women’s basketball tournament in 1996.
The 4.85 million viewers tuned into ESPN Networks Sunday was the most-watched cable program of the day, an 18% increase in viewership year-over-year and 30% from 2019.
Back on the men’s side, NCAA March Madness Live set several all-time records for last night’s Kansas/UNC Championship, including the most viewership and most minutes consumed for a single game in the history of MML. Kansas/UNC recorded a peak of 1.6 million concurrent streams, breaking the previous record set two days prior during the Duke/UNC showdown. This year’s NCAA Men’s Tournament generated the most live individuals for any full tournament in MML history, a 12% increase from the previous record, which was set in 2019.
Official NCAA Men’s March Madness Social Grips generated a 58% increase over the previous all-time high, set in 2021. For last night’s championship game, social engagements increased 33% over compared to the previous record.