Epic Return to Kansas 18M – Deadline

Last night’s NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball National Championship Nell-Beater saw Kansas beat North Carolina 72-69 to become the most watched NCAA Men’s Championship game on television. The Kansas-UNC game delivered an average of 18.1 million viewers based on total viewer deliveries. That’s 4% more than last year’s Baylor and Gonzaga match at the National Championships.

It didn’t hurt that the No. 1-seeded Jehoks returned the biggest halftime in the history of the championship game, dropping 15 to 3 points to win.

Broadcasting by CBS Sports and Turner Sports across TBS, TNT and truTV has made Kansas-North Carolina the third most viewed college basketball game in the history of cable TV. Saturday’s UNC-Duke Final Four National semifinal matchup, featuring legendary Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski’s final, averaged 18.5 million spectators. That puts it second all the time.

A total of 10.7 million total viewers and 17.0 shares (percentage of households or viewers watching television at the time) for the 67 live game telecasts of the 2022 NCAA Men’s Tournament broadcast across TBS, CBS, TNT and TrueTV. Both systems are 13% higher than last year. The 17.0 share has been the best for the entire NCAA Men’s Tournament since 1994.

The 2022 NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Championship game, featuring South Carolina’s Wire-to-Wire victory on Sunday, scored 4.85 million views, making it the most viewed women’s title game since 2004. It was the fourth largest audience to watch the women’s championship game ESPN started broadcasting the NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Tournament exclusively in 1996.

Tuning 4.85 million viewers across the ESPN network on Sunday was the most viewed cable program of the day, an 18 percent year-over-year increase of 30 percent from 2019.

Turning to men, the NCAA set multiple all-time records for last night’s Kansas / UNC Championship for Madness Live, with the most viewers and the most minutes spent on a single game in MML history. Breaking the previous record set just two days before the Duke / UNC showdown, Kansas / UNC netted 1.6 million parallel streams. This year’s NCAA Men’s Tournament MML produced the most live Unix for any full tournament in history, a 12% increase over the previous record, set in 2019.

Official NCAA Men’s March Madness social handles rose 58%, to an all-time high, set in 2021. For last night’s championship game, social engagement increased by 33% over the previous record.

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