CBS saw 14% decline in viewers for NCAA men’s championship game, while women’s title match on ESPN grew

MaCio Teague #31 of the Baylor Bears goes up for a basket against Drew Timme #2 of the Gonzaga Bulldogs within the National Championship sport of the 2021 NCAA Men’s Basketball Match at Lucas Oil Stadium on April 05, 2021 in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Andy Lyons | Getty Photography

Gonzaga’s probability at historical past became beaten within the 2021 National Collegiate Athletic Affiliation males’s basketball occasion, as the Bulldogs misplaced their first sport of the season to the Baylor Bears, and viewership suffered.

The 2021 NCAA males’s basketball championship sport attracted a median of 16.9 million viewers to CBS Sports activities on Monday, a 14% decline from the 2019 sport. The 2020 contest became canceled due to the the Covid-19 pandemic.

Baylor prevented Gonzaga from going undefeated, beating the Bulldogs, 86-70. A ranking would’ve capped a most keen season for Gonzaga, and the first time a males’s program went undefeated since the 1976 Indiana Hoosiers.

This 300 and sixty five days’s sport became the least-watched championship ever aired on CBS since the network started broadcasting the video games in 1982. It be also the lowest since WarnerMedia property Turner Sports activities aired the game in 2018 (CBS and Turner started switching every varied 300 and sixty five days in 2016). That sport, between Villanova and the College of Michigan, drew roughly 16.5 million viewers.

CBS had about 19 million viewers for the championship sport between Virginia and Texas Tech in 2019. That became a decline from the 2017 sport it hosted that comprises the College of North Carolina and Gonzaga, which attracted approximately 22 million.

For the 2021 males’s Final Four video games, a median of 14.9 million viewers watched Saturday’s Gonzaga-UCLA time beyond law buzzer-beater, and that sport peaked at 18.8 million viewers. Baylor’s ranking over Houston had 8.1 million viewers, which is down 37 p.c when when put next with the 2019 early semifinal contest.

Final month, John Bogusz, CBS Community executive vice president of sports gross sales and marketing and marketing, acknowledged NCAA’s viewership decline at some level of the pandemic. He mentioned the network had situation apart additional ad stock for entrepreneurs may per chance per chance well have to the network fail to meet viewership targets.

“We are going to wait and peep how the video games develop, nonetheless we now have situation apart a little little bit of stock to address our advertisers if need be,” Bogusz said.

Lexie Hull #12 of the Stanford Cardinal blocks the shot of Aari McDonald #2 of the Arizona Wildcats within the championship sport of the NCAA Womens Basketball Match at Alamodome on April 4, 2021 in San Antonio, Texas.

Ben Solomon | NCAA Photos | Getty Photography

Viewership up for girls’s sport

Disney-owned ESPN hosted the girls’s occasion held in San Antonio. On Tuesday, it said the title sport between Arizona and Stanford attracted a median of 4 million viewers on Sunday, peaking at 5.9 million. The network said it became the most-watched girls’s contest since 2014.

Stanford beat the Wildcats, 54-53, to ranking its first NCAA girls’s basketball title since 1992.

The network also reported staunch numbers around the semifinal video games. Stanford’s victory over South Carolina drew a median of 1.6 million viewers, whereas the College of Connecticut loss to Arizona had 2.6 million viewers, up 24 p.c from the 2019 2nd semifinal contest. Total, the two video games combined to average 2.8 million viewers

Disney positioned six video games from the girls’s occasion on its ABC network, marking the first time a broadcast network carried video games from the girls’s occasion since 1995, when CBS aired some contests.

The Iowa versus Connecticut contest on March 27 became the most realistic rated of the video games, with 1.5 million viewers followed by the Michigan Baylor sport (1.2 million). The network said the Sweet 16 contests aired on ABC, ESPN, and ESPN2 averaged 918,000 viewers, which is up 67 p.c from 2019.