Monday night’s NCAA championship game, which saw Villanova crush Michigan 79-62, drew the lowest overnight rating in the history of the tournament.
Across TBS, TNT and TruTV, the tournament’s championship game earned a 10.3 overnight rating, according to Sports Business Daily’s John Ourand. The previous low for a NCAA championship game was the 11.2 rating pulled in during the 2004 NCAA contest between UConn and Georgia Tech.
In Philadelphia — the country’s fourth-largest television market — the game delivered a 21.2 rating, according to Sports Business Daily’s Austin Karp. That equates to roughly 614,000 households in the Philadelphia market tuning in to watch Villanova’s second NCAA championship in three years. For sake of comparison, the Eagles Super Bowl win back in February delivered a 56.2 rating, adding up to about 1.6 million households.
Philadelphia was not the top local TV market for Villanova’s win. Detroit — the country’s 14th-largest market — edged Philadelphia out by drawing a 21.4 rating.
As pointed out by Sports Media Watch, the Villanova-Michigan final was barely even the highest-rated game of this year’s NCAA tournament, just edging out the 10.1 rating CBS drew for Kansas’ 85-81 overtime win over Duke in the Midwest Regional final.
This year’s ratings represent a 14-percent drop from Villanova’s buzzer-beating win in the 2016 NCAA championship over North Carolina, which also aired across the three Turner networks. It’s also a 29-percent drop from North Carolina’s 71-65 win over Gonzaga in the 2017 championship game, which aired on CBS and pulled in a 14.5 rating.
While disappointing, the ratings aren’t entirely surprising, since the game ended up being a blowout. According to Karp, ratings peaked at 11.5, way behind last year’s peak of 17.5. Despite the low ratings, the game did manage to easily beat out everything else on television Monday night.
Next year’s NCAA Tournament championship game will air on CBS.