Connecticut’s NCAA Championship Ratings Lower Than Last Year’s Title Game

Ratings for the University of Connecticut’s third men’s college basketball championship dropped 18 percent from last year’s title game in preliminary national figures.

The Huskies’ 53-41 win last night against Butler University, the lowest-scoring title game since 1949, drew 11.7 percent of households, according to Nielsen Media Research fast- national figures cited in a news release from CBS Corp. and Turner Sports.

“I’m not surprised that it didn’t beat last year’s title game, but this is still a great number,” David Levy, president of Turner Sports, said in a telephone interview. “It is showing that this event has the capability of growing with teams that aren’t your typical brand names.”

Butler’s loss to Duke University in last year’s National Collegiate Athletic Association championship game drew a fast- national rating of 14.2 percent. Duke won that game 61-59 when a half-court shot by Butler bounced off the rim at the final buzzer.

UConn’s victory at Reliant Stadium in Houston drew preliminary national ratings that topped those for championship games in 2009 and 2006.

National Average

The three-week tournament had the best preliminary national average since 2005, a 6.4, according to the release. The tournament averaged 10.2 million viewers, up 7 percent from CBS Sports’ 2010 coverage.

The NCAA March Madness on Demand website, which offered live streaming games, saw a 63 percent increase in total visits and a 17 percent increase in video consumption this season, according to an e-mailed release.

Turner Sports and CBS agreed last April to a 14-year, $10.8 billion partnership for broadcast, Internet and wireless rights to the college basketball tournament. All 67 games of this year’s tournament were broadcast live across four networks -- CBS, and Turner’s TBS, TNT and truTV.

“We exceeded all of our initial business expectations, from ad sales to corporate partnerships, digital sales and ratings,” Levy said. “That’s a great foundation for a 14-year deal.”

To contact the reporters on this story: Eben Novy-Williams in New York enovywilliam@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Sillup at msillup@bloomberg.net.

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