- Marionville mayor ‘kind of agreed’ with Kansas City shooter’s views
- Rev. Al Sharpton’s Easter message: Politically ‘crucified’ Obama has risen again
- Supreme Court to weigh challenge to ban on campaign lies
- UNICEF launches ‘Mr. Poo’ mascot in India to curb public defecation
- Teen taking selfie by train: ‘Wow, that guy just kicked me in the head’
- Goodbye, Afghanistan — hello, Africa: Air Force to shift as U.S. exits Middle East
- Iran mulls ban on vasectomies, decrease on abortions to bolster population
- CNN op-ed claims right-wingers ‘more deadly than jihadists’
- Classes resume at high school rocked by stabbings
- ABC News accuses Center for Public Integrity of stealing Pulitzer-winning work
NCAA tourney’s first weekend draws more viewers
NEW YORK (AP) - The NCAA tournament’s new television format drew more viewers to the first weekend of March Madness.
The games spread across four networks have averaged 8.4 million viewers so far. That’s up 14 percent from last year, when games were only on CBS.
“We made certain assumptions with advertisers, and we’ve either met or exceeded all those assumptions,” CBS Sports Chairman Sean McManus told The Associated Press on Monday. “The first year is often a benchmark and a critical year for a long-term deal, and that bodes well.”
The NCAA’s 14-year, $10.8 billion contract with CBS and Turner meant each early round game was televised nationally in its entirety on CBS, TNT, TBS or truTV. In the past, broadcasts on CBS were regionalized, and the network would switch among games.
McManus was quick to note the ratings reflected only the first few days of a 14-year deal. “But the initial signs and initial numbers are encouraging,” he said.
“We’ve gotten anecdotal evidence that people really, really like being able to control what they watch,” McManus said. “They’ve gotten used to already looking up at the scoreboard.”
The ratings have benefited from plenty of close finishes and upsets in this year’s tournament, but McManus believes that’s not just good fortune. With parity in the sport, he expects that to remain the norm in March.
“One of the things Turner and CBS bet on was what the future of college basketball would be, that there would be a lot of really, really intriguing matchups and lot of really, really intriguing games,” McManus said.
Fans still took advantage of the ability to watch games for free online even with the increased TV options. Visits to March Madness on Demand on the Internet and mobile devices are up 47 percent from last year.
Levy attributed that partly to the introduction of the iPad and the increased prevalence of smartphones that can stream video. And of course most people don’t have televisions in their offices on Thursday and Friday afternoons.
The new deal allowed for more staggered starts to games, so all those buzzer-beaters weren’t happening at the same time, and for games to be broadcast in prime time on Sunday. Levy said he received a bunch of emails from people excited to be able to watch the tournament on a Sunday night.
“Any time you’ve got the opportunity to have the importance of the tournament and these games in prime time, it certainly helped,” Levy said.
By Andrew P. Napolitano
Easter symbolizes the freedom to choose eternal life
- 'Culture of intimidation' seen in Nevada ranch standoff
- Rand and Ron Paul ride to the rescue for Bundy in Nevada standoff with feds
- Nevada Bundy ranch standoff could leave dirt on Harry Reid reputation
- WEBER: Obamacare cuts home healthcare for millions of seniors
- Atheists rush to stage Easter display: 'Jesus Christ is a myth'
- Fuel-filled wings, ability to swarm: Pentagon offers glimpse at future of drone fleet
- U.S. Navy to turn seawater into jet fuel
- CARSON: Recovering Tocqueville's vision of American exceptionalism
- GOP writes legislation to deny Attorney General Eric Holder his salary
- UNICEF launches 'Mr. Poo' mascot in India to curb public defecation
Celebrity deaths in 2014
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.