NEW YORK — The Final Four’s television viewership is down after its move to cable.
The two NCAA semifinals Saturday averaged a total of 14 million viewers, an 11 percent decrease from last year’s games on CBS. That number included viewers of the main coverage on TBS along with the school-specific “TeamCasts” on TNT and truTV. Turner Sports and CBS did not receive network-by-network ratings breakdowns from Nielsen.
TBS is in about 14 percent fewer homes than CBS.
This was the first time the semifinals were on cable. Turner and CBS are in the fourth season of a 14-year, $10.8 billion deal to jointly broadcast the tournament. Today’s title game will be on CBS.
Kentucky’s 74-73 win over Wisconsin averaged 16.3 million viewers, down 5 percent from last year’s Michigan-Syracuse game. The 11.7 million viewers for UConn’s 63-53 victory over Florida were down 19 percent from Louisville-Wichita State in the early game.
But there was still huge value to Turner in drawing viewers to its three cable channels. Before this season, the most-watched college basketball game on cable was Florida-Florida Gulf Coast in the 2013 Sweet 16 on TBS with 6.7 million viewers.
Two regional finals were on TBS for the first time this year, with Wisconsin-Arizona drawing 9.9 million viewers.