NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament Scores Watch-Time, Impressions Wins: TV By the Numbers

Armando Bacot #5 of the North Carolina Tar Heels and Fousseyni Drame #10 of the St. Peter's Peacocks battle for a rebound during the Elite Eight round game of the 2022 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Wells Fargo Center on March 27, 2022 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
(Image credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

Below is a snapshot of TV by the numbers for the week of March 21-27, showcasing the most-watched shows and networks using glass-level data from Vizio’s Inscape, and network and show TV ad impressions insights via

Most-Watched Shows and Networks

Via Inscape, Vizio’s TV data product with glass-level insights from a panel of more than 19 million active and opted-in smart TVs. Data is linear, live TV only and includes all episode types (new and reruns). Rankings are by percent share duration (i.e., time spent watching).

The NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament continues to be a cut above other programming, with 5.13% of TV audiences tuned in from March 21-27. That was No. 1 on the week — nearly 5x more than the No. 2 program, the PGA Tour’s WGC Match Play.

Some additional insights about the top programming on TV:

  • This year’s NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament has recorded more watch-time gains, jumping from 0.53% to 0.62% of minutes watched week-over-week.
  • The Oscars starred on Sunday night, landing at No. 5 for watch-time on the week.
  • Along with the Oscars, there were two additional week-over-week newcomers to our top 25 most-watched rankings — Forensic Files (up from No. 36) and NCIS: Los Angeles (from No. 40).
  • Speaking of, there are 10 different procedurals featured among this week’s top 25 programs, led by Law & Order: Special Victims Unit at No. 3.

Most-watched shows by percent share March 21-27

CBS stays top-dog in our ranking of the most-watched networks, with 8.85% of minutes watched from March 21-27. Of course, that’s due in large part to the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, with two more rounds of games from Thursday through Sunday.

More insights around the most-watched networks from March 21-27:

  • With TBS and CBS splitting Sweet 16 and Elite 8 games for the men’s tournament, TBS moves up to No. 6 by minutes watched in our network ranking.
  • News remains a focus, as Fox News and CNN remain in the top 10 by watch-time, while MSNBC rises from No. 18 to No. 15 week-over-week.
  • Paramount Network leaned into Yellowstone once again to fuel a leap from No. 40 to No. 24 by week-over-week watch-time.
  • INSP also emphasized Westerns (Gunsmoke, in particular) to power its own climb from No. 27 by minutes watched from March 14-20, to No. 25 this week.

Most-watched networks on TV by percent shared duration March 21-27

Top Shows and Networks by TV Ad Impressions

Via, the always-on TV ad measurement and attribution company. Rankings are by TV ad impressions, for new episodes only. 

Even with fewer tournament games than the previous week, men’s college basketball still outpaced all other programming in terms of delivering TV ad impressions from March 21-27, with 7.52 billion -- or 14.1% of all impressions for the week.

More data about the top programs by TV ad impressions:

  • The Oscars sit securely at No. 5 by impressions, with over 788 million, despite fewer ad airings than any other program in this week’s top 25.
  • News stays front-and-center, with nearly half of our weekly rankings occupied by news-related programs (led by Good Morning America at No. 3).
  • With both the men’s and women’s tournaments in later rounds, SportsCenter also received a boost by airing highlights from all of the action, as ESPN’s flagship show increased week-over-week impressions by 38%.
  • After The Bachelor’s latest season wrapped up, American Idol came for the reality TV crown, landing at No. 13 by impressions this week (up from No. 22 the previous week).

Top shows by TV ad impressions March 21-27

CBS stays entrenched at No. 1 in our ad-impressions-by-network ranking for March 21-27, with nearly 21% of TV ad impressions.

Additional insights around the top networks by impressions from the week:

  • TBS rises week-over-week as the network climbs to No. 6 by impressions due primarily to NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament games.
  • ESPN2 impressions jump by over 19% week-over-week due in part to the network’s emphasis on NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament games.
  • Spring training powered MLB Network impression increases as well, up almost 24% compared to the previous week’s totals.

Top networks by TV ad impressions March 21-27

John Cassillo is an analyst and contributor with TV[R]EV.