Tuesday October 3, 2023

March Madness, WBC Headline Massive Weekend of Viewership

  • Sunday evening’s upset victory for Michigan State over Marquette led the way with 10.9M average viewers.
  • Saturday's World Baseball Classic quarterfinal between the U.S. and Venezuela drew 2.2M average viewers.
A Michigan State basketball player drives the rim against Marquette in the men's March Madness tournament.
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Front Office Sports Today

NBC Could Get In On College Football Playoffs

NBC is exploring broadcasting a slice of the expanded CFP in 2026.
Listen Now
October 3, 2023 | Podcast
Copy Link
Link Copied
Link Copied

A huge weekend across the sports landscape saw viewers glued to their televisions — leading to huge numbers.

As expected, men’s March Madness dominated the weekend. Sunday evening’s upset victory for Michigan State over Marquette took the top spot, averaging an enormous 10.9 million viewers for a 5.86 rating, per ShowBuzzDaily.

That game and the next six top-viewed games were all broadcast on CBS.

  • Arkansas vs. Kansas: 9.5M on Saturday evening
  • Kentucky vs. Kansas State: 9.4M on Sunday afternoon
  • Duke vs. Tennessee: 8.9M on Saturday afternoon
  • Penn State vs. Texas: 6.6M on Saturday night
  • Pitt vs. Xavier: 5.5M on Sunday afternoon
  • Furman vs. San Diego State: 4.8M on Saturday afternoon

Despite Fairleigh Dickinson becoming just the second 16-seed ever to beat a No. 1 when it took down Purdue, the game was not able to crack the top seven, pulling in 4.4 million average viewers — though it was Friday night’s most-watched game and the most for a cable network throughout the weekend (TNT).

The most-watched women’s game was Sunday’s Georgia-Iowa game on ABC, attracting 1.5 million average viewers — roughly on par with LSU and South Carolina’s showdown in February that was the most-watched women’s regular-season game since 2010.

The entire women’s first round was up 27% compared with last year, for an average of 257,000 viewers, ESPN announced.

Mar 16, 2023; Orlando, FL, USA; Furman Paladins guard Marcus Foster (5) celebrates after defeating the Virginia Cavaliers at Amway Center.

March Madness Opener Draws Best TV Numbers In 8 Years

Furman’s upset of Arizona in the first round helped boost ratings.
March 17, 2023

Meanwhile, despite going head-to-head with the first weekend of March Madness, the World Baseball Classic also continued to put up strong numbers.

Saturday’s quarterfinal between the United States and Venezuela drew 2.2 million average viewers, while Sunday’s semifinal between the U.S. and Cuba drew 1.9 million on average, both more than the United States’ opener against Great Britain, which drew 1.6 million — making it the most-watched WBC opening-round game since 2009.

Japan continues to draw monster numbers in its own country: 62 million tuned in for its matchup with South Korea — more than any World Series game in history.

Japan’s dramatic victory over Mexico in the semifinals on Monday night sets up an epic final against the United States on Tuesday night — which could end up being the most-watched baseball game of all time.

Copy Link
Link Copied
Link Copied

What to Read

NBC is interested in media rights to the expanded College Football Playoff.

NBC Is Interested in Expanded College Football Playoff Media Rights

NBC is one of the networks pitching the CFP, a source confirmed.
A view of the Charlotte Hornets jersey with new jersey patch sponsor Feastables.

MrBeast Lands The First Creator-Led Brand Jersey Patch

Feastables will be the Charlotte Hornets’ official jersey patch sponsor.
Los Angeles Angels designated hitter Shohei Ohtani hits against the Tampa Bay Rays during the sixth inning at Angel Stadium.

Shohei Ohtani Tops MLB Jersey Sales List For First Time

He's the first Japanese player to headline the list in MLB history
A rendering of plans for a new arena and surrounding entertainment district in Reno, Nevada.

Nevada Basketball Arena Centerpiece of $1B Private Investment in Reno

It's the largest private investment in the city's history.
podcast thumbnail mobile
Front Office Sports Today

NBC Could Get In On College Football Playoffs


Featured Today

Football analyst and PFF investor Chris Collinsworth talks to man in front of computers

Cris Collinsworth 'Lost a Lot of Sleep' Over Pro Football Focus Leadership Issues

New book details why it’s no longer a “happy place to work.”
October 2, 2023

MLB Attendance Surges 70 Million, Tops League Projections

League posts best year-over-year increase at the gate since 1993
Levi's Stadium
October 2, 2023

49ers Study Shows Benefits of Public-Private Stadium Deals

Levi’s Stadium has generated more than $2 billion per new study.
Formula 1 drivers in a pack at the start of the Montreal Grand Prix
October 1, 2023

Apple Reportedly Making Push For Global Formula 1 Rights

The tech giant could offer $2 billion a year for the rights.


Powered By

Careers in Sports

Looking for a new job? Check out these featured listings and search for openings all over the world.
Chicago Cubs
New York
Tri Star Sports and Entertainment Group, Inc.
USA - Multiple Locations
Taylor Swift

NBC's 'Swift Bowl' Draws Monster 27 Million Viewers

It was the most-watched Sunday show since Super Bowl 57.
October 2, 2023

DSG Seeks Extension As Reorganization Pressure Mounts

Bankrupt RSN operator looks to file restructuring plan in late November
October 2, 2023

RedBird IMI Makes Strategic Investment in Front Office Sports

RedBird IMI is a joint venture between RedBird Capital Partners and International Media Investments focused on high-growth media companies.
College football is taking over Saturday night.
September 30, 2023

How College Football’s Biggest Games Took Over Saturday Night

Network competition and West Coast storylines helped college football stage a coup.
September 29, 2023

ESPN, Tiger-Rory Golf League Close To Long-Term Deal

New entity backed by Woods, McIlroy nears critical agreement
Toy Story
September 29, 2023

‘Toy Story’ Success Could Lead to More Disney-Branded NFL Kid-Casts

A successful ‘Toy Story’ game could open the door for other franchises.
September 28, 2023

ESPN Takes Next Step To Control Women’s College Basketball Rights

The WBIT will launch this season.
Jamie Erdahl and cast of NFL Network's "Good Morning Football."
September 28, 2023

Jamie Erdahl Reflects On Rapid Transition To Hosting ‘Good Morning Football'

Erdahl talked to FOS about her experience since taking over the morning show from longtime host Kay Adams in July 2022.