Mad about hoops: March Madness is must-see TV

Coach Jamie Dixon and TCU are out but March Madness rolls on. (AP Photo/John Leyba)

Games in both editions of March Madness, men’s and women’s, have proven to be must-see TV for basketball fans.

The first two rounds of the NCAA women’s tournament averaged a record 391,000 viewers, a 28% increase over last year. The four ABC games on Saturday and Sunday averaged at least 636,000 viewers per game. The second-round game Sunday between Georgia and Iowa averaged 1.5 million, a record for an early-round game, with South Florida-South Carolina bringing in 1.1 million.

ABC will air the women’s championship game on April 2 – the first time since 1995 it has been on network television.

The men’s first round on March 16-17 averaged 9.2 million viewers on CBS, TBS, TNT and truTV. The March 17 games averaged 9.3 million, making it the most-watched Friday first round.

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Michigan State’s win over Marquette on Sunday was the game with the largest audience with 10.9 million viewers.

The overall tournament average of 9.04 million on CBS, TBS, TNT and truTV is very similar to last year’s number of 9.12 million. March Madness live is up 4% in average minute audience compared to 2022.

Men’s action resumes tonight with Sweet 16 games on TBS and CBS. The women’s tournament continues Friday afternoon on ESPN.