March Madness: Best Opening Thursday Since 1991

Fueled by several upsets and four overtime contests, Turner Sports and CBS Sports’ exclusive second-round coverage of the 2014 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship marked the most-watched opening Thursday bout of March Madness in 23 years.

The March 20 telecasts on TBS, CBS, TNT and truTV averaged 8.6 million total viewers, according to Nielsen fast nationals data up 6% compared from 8.1 million in 2013 and the largest audience since 1991. Thursday coverage netted a 5.6 U.S. household rating and 13 share.

Through the first three days, the tourney averaged 8.1 million total viewers, up 9% from the 7.4 million last year, and also stands as the most-viewed start to the event since 1991, when the tournament expanded to four telecast windows for the entire day. Counting the First Four doubleheaders on Tuesday and Wednesday on truTV,  the tournament has posted a 5.3/12.

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(Photo Credit: Steve Dykes/Getty Images)