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March Madness: TV ratings slightly up over last year despite Sunday's blowouts

Alabama forward Nick Pringle (23) celebrates with the mascot after Alabama beat Grand Canyon in a second-round college basketball game in the NCAA Tournament in Spokane, Wash., Sunday, March 24, 2024. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

The first three days of the NCAA Tournament attracted record ratings, only to see the momentum stifled due to Sunday's games being blowouts.

Overall, the tournament is averaging 9.07 million viewers on CBS, TBS, TNT and truTV. That is a slight increase over the 9.05 million average at this point last year.

Through Saturday, the tournament averaged 9.0 million, making it the most-watched through that stage.

Sunday's games averaged 8.91 million, an 8% decrease over last year. The average winning margin of the eight games was 18.9 points, including Duke's 93-55 blowout of James Madison and Purdue's 106-67 rout of Utah State, both on CBS.

Saturday's eight second-round games averaged 10.8 million, making it the most-watched second round Saturday in tournament history. The Michigan State-North Carolina game — an 85-59 victory by the Tar Heels — drew 10.02 million, the most-watched, second-round Saturday game since Kentucky-Indiana in 2016.

Thursday's first round averaged 8.5 million, the most-watched since 2015. Friday's averaged 8.6 million, the second-most just behind last year's 8.8 million.

CBS and TNT Sports should be able to regain some momentum during the Sweet 16 and Elite Eight with all four top seeds still alive and many traditional, blueblood programs still in the field.

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AP March Madness bracket: https://apnews.com/hub/ncaa-mens-bracket and coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/march-madness