NCAA Tournament Scores Big Opening Viewers On Four TV Nets

CBS and Turner Broadcasting coverage of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament say they have scored the highest average viewership in 21 years for the first big day – Thursday -- of the month long event.

Airing multiple games on CBS, TBS, TNT and truTV for the second year yield 4% higher viewers over the 2011 tournament to average 7.7 million. Network executives say it was the most watched “first Thursday” since 1991.

The network says it broke down ratings of the big initial all-day Thursday second round into “four” windows of multiple games stretching from daytime to evening hours.

Viewership generally rose throughout the day. The second telecast window of the day was up 5% to 6,723,000 total viewers. The third telecast gained 8% to 9,664,000 total viewers; and the final window also picked up 8% to 9,900,000 total viewers.