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Viewership for Final Four Games Increases by 44%

Coverage of the NCAA tournament’s semi-final games on CBS Saturday—pitting the Final Four teams against each other for berths in the championship game—drew 16.8 million viewers on average, up 44% from a year ago.

The late game, with North Carolina beating Oregon, drew 18.8 million viewers—the second-most watched game since 1998 and up 44% from last year when the games were on cable with Turner Broadcasting.

The early game, won by Gonzaga over South Carolina, averaged 14.7 million viewers, up 46%.

North Carolina will face Gonzaga in Monday’s championship game. A year ago Villanova beat North Carolina with a buzzer-beating 3-point shot. Ratings of the game, on cable for the first time, drew 17.8 million, down 37% from the previous year’s game on CBS.

So far, CBS and Turner’s coverage of March Madness is the second-most watched in 23 years with an average viewership of 10.4 million viewers, up 14% from last year.

The tournament has also generated 93.5 million live video streams so far, the most ever.

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.