Duke-UCF thriller helps boost TV ratings for NCAA Tournament

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Central Florida guard Aubrey Dawkins, left, battles for a rebound against Duke’s Zion Williamson, and Cam Reddish (5) after missing a potential game-winning tip-in during the second half of a second-round game in the NCAA men’s college basketball tournament Sunday, March 24, 2019, in Columbia, S.C. Duke defeated Central Florida 77-76. (AP Photo/Sean Rayford)

CBS Sports and Turner Sports say television ratings for the NCAA Tournament across four networks that broadcast the first week of games were up 8 percent over last year.

Tournaments games drew an average Nielsen rating of 6.4, up from 5.9 last year. The rating got a boost from the dramatic Duke-UCF game on Sunday. The Blue Devils’ one-point victory earned an 11.9 rating, up 35 percent from the game that aired in that same television window last year. The game had the second-highest rating in that time slot in the 29 years since the tournament expanded to its current format.

Ratings represent the percentage of U.S. television households tuned into a program.

CBS and Turner also announced Monday that NCAA March Madness Live set a new high for live streams and live hours of consumption, up more than 25 percent from last year.

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