North Carolina's Final Four win over Duke nearly sets all-time ratings record
North Carolina’s instant-classic victory over Duke is one of the most-watched basketball games on cable television of all time.
While CBS usually broadcasts the Final Four, it was Turner Sports who had the rights to this year’s event. Over 16.3 million people watched the game, according to early reports. That figure is expected to see an increase later this week.
That’s the 2nd most-watched college basketball game ever played on cable TV:
North Carolina-Duke Final Four thriller PROJECTS to be 2nd-best NCAA hoops game ever on cable TV
EARLY figure: 16.3 million viewers (again, EARLY). Should see 10% bump Tuesday (out-of-home audience)
Record still 2015: Wisconsin's upset of undefeated Kentucky: 22.6 million (1/3) pic.twitter.com/Q7OT7xJk51
— Austin Karp (@AustinKarp) April 3, 2022
The 2015 Final Four was the most-watched edition in recent memory. Over 22.6 million people watched an underdog Wisconsin team beat undefeated Kentucky.
The 2018 Final Four was also distributed by Turner. According to Sports Media Watch, that year’s National Championship game between Villanova and Michigan was watched by 15.9 million viewers.
In 2016, Villanova-North Carolina drew 17.75 million viewers. Saturday night’s Duke-North Carolina contest is currently expected to clear that number, but it’s not a guarantee.
The 1979 National Championship game between Michigan State and Indiana State remains the most-watched college basketball game of all time with over 35 million viewers. That game was shown on CBS and featured future NBA icons Magic Johnson and Larry Bird.
North Carolin and Kansas will tipoff on Monday night at 9:20 p.m. ET.