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.
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.