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March Madness Final Viewed by 17.8 Million

The NCAA men’s basketball championship averaged 17.8 million total viewers and a 13.2 household rating, per the Nielsen fast nationals. Turner Sports and CBS share the March Madness package, and the final appeared on TNT, TBS and truTV for the first time.

Villanova defeated North Carolina 77-74 on a buzzer-beater.

The household rating was down almost 18% over last year’s final. Airing on CBS, the 2015 final was the most viewed NCAA championship in 18 years. Featuring Duke and Wisconsin, that game averaged 28.3 million total viewers, while 2014’s tallied 21.3 million.

Related: NCAA Corporate Sponsors Kick in 50% of Record Hoops Haul

The 2015 contest had a 16 HH rating while 2014’s was a 12.5.

Turner called Monday’s telecast the second most-viewed college basketball telecast in the history of cable TV. The broadcast nets largely put reruns up against the sports spectacle.  

Monday’s championship generated 56 million impressions across March Madness social accounts on Twitter and Facebook, according to Turner, up 112% over last year.

Related: 2015 March Madness Drew $1.2B Ad Revenue

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.