NCAA Tournament Ratings Increase 24% in First Year of CBS-Turner TV Deal

Television ratings for the first full day of the men’s college basketball tournament were the highest in two decades as CBS Sports and Turner Sports combined to air all 16 games in their entirety for the first time.

The National Collegiate Athletic Association games on the CBS Corp. (CBS) network and Time Warner Inc. (TWX)’s TBS, TNT and truTV networks were seen in an average of 5.7 percent of households in the top 56 U.S. television markets, CBS and Turner said in a news release.

That’s 24 percent higher than last year’s 4.6 major-market rating for the first Thursday of the tournament and the highest since 1991, when it expanded to four telecast windows for the entire day.

CBS and Turner agreed in April on a 14-year, $10.8 billion contract for broadcast, Internet and wireless rights on the tournament, which this year expanded to 68 teams from 65.

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