NEW YORK (AP) — Connecticut’s victory over San Diego State in the men’s national championship game ended up being the lowest-viewed final on record.
The Huskies’ 76-59 win averaged 14.69 million viewers on CBS. The previous low was 15.99 in 2018, when Villanova beat Michigan on TBS.
UConn’s 2004 victory over Georgia Tech, which averaged 17.09 million, was the lowest on CBS until Monday night. CBS and TBS began alternating Final Fours in 2016.
Still, Monday’s game was the most-watched program on television that evening and the most-watched basketball game — college or pro — since Kansas’ victory over North Carolina in last year’s national championship game.
The women’s NCAA championship game set a record Sunday when LSU beat Iowa 102-85, with 9.9 million viewers on ABC and ESPN2.
This year’s men’s tournament averaged 9.55 million, down 7% from last year but up 4% from 2021. The first round on March 16-17 averaged 9.2 million, a record for the most-watched round of 64.
The lack of national name-brand teams after upsets the first weekend and in the regional semifinals took their toll on viewing numbers.
AP March Madness coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/march-madness and bracket: https://apnews.com/hub/ncaa-mens-bracket and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-basketball-poll and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25