In the past, CBS or CBSSports.com was the only place you could go to watch the March Madness Tournament. If the game you wanted to watch was not being broadcasted in your region, you were either stuck watching a one-seed blow out a 16-seed or you had to go online.
This year it is different. For the first time ever, all games were broadcasted on either TNT, TBS, Tru or CBS. Most people did not even know what network they were watching, but in whole, broadcasting all the games increased overall viewership for the tournament so far.
It was the best Thursday the tournament had seen in 20 years. Combined, the four networks averaged 7.828 million viewers, up 12% over last year’s 7.007 million. The average rating for the four networks is 5.9 which is 9% better than last year’s 5.4 for CBS.
And while viewing is up, it has not impacted the online streaming program, March Madness on Demand, which had been put in place for people to watch all games up until this year. Additionally, visits to the site and mobile apps were up 22% over last year.
All in all, it was a smart move for the NCAA to broadcast all games for the beginning of the tournament.