NCAA Basketball Tournament Most-Watched in Six Years

The NCAA basketball championship tournament was the most-watched since 2005.

Averaging 10.2 million total viewers on CBS, TBS, TNT and truTV, the tourney — which saw UConn defeat Butler in the championship game — was up 7 percent from last year’s coverage which averaged 9.5 million viewers. The 2005 tournament was higher with 10.6 million.

“The excitement that built during the entire tournament resulted in terrific ratings,” said Sean McManus, chairman of CBS Sports. “The new television format has been appreciated and accepted by the viewers. Although we are only in the first year of our 14-year partnership with Turner Sports, the success we’ve achieved with the best overall tournament ratings since 2005 bodes very well for the future.”

The overall tourney average was up in all key demographics over last year, including adults 18-34 (2.3 million vs. 1.9 million), adults 18-49 (4.7 million vs. 4.2 million), adults 25-54 (4.8 million vs. 4.5 million), male 18-34 (1.6 million vs. 1.3 million), male 18-49 (3.3 million vs. 2.8 million) and men 25-54 (3.3 million vs. 3 million).

Though down from last year, Monday night’s final drew 20.1 million viewers, up from the 2006 and 2009 championship games.