MaCio Teague # 31 of the Baylor Bears goes up for a basket against Drew Timme # 2 of the Gonzaga Bulldogs in the 2021 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament National Championship game at Lucas Oil Stadium on April 5, 2021 in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Andy Lyons | fake images
Gonzaga’s shot at history was squashed in the final game of the 2021 National Collegiate Athletics Association men’s basketball tournament, as the Bulldogs lost their first game of the season to the Baylor Bears, and the audience suffered.
The 2021 NCAA men’s basketball championship game drew an average of 16.9 million viewers to CBS Sports on Monday, a 14% decrease from the 2019 game. The 2020 contest was canceled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Baylor kept Gonzaga from going undefeated, beating the Bulldogs, 86-70. A victory would have capped off a perfect season for Gonzaga and it would be the first time a men’s program has gone undefeated since the 1976 Indiana Hoosiers.
This year’s game was the least watched championship broadcast on CBS since the network began broadcasting the games in 1982. It is also the lowest since WarnerMedia-owned Turner Sports aired the game in 2018, after CBS and Turner began to change every two years in 2016. That game, between Villanova and the University of Michigan, drew approximately 16.5 million viewers.
CBS had about 19 million viewers for the 2019 Virginia-Texas Tech championship game. That was down from the 2017 game it featured with the University of North Carolina and Gonzaga, which drew roughly 22 million viewers. viewers.
For the 2021 men’s Final Four games, an average of 14.9 million viewers watched the Gonzaga-UCLA overtime buzzer on Saturday, and that match peaked at 18.8 million viewers. Baylor’s win over Houston had 8.1 million viewers, down 37% compared to the early 2019 semi-final contest.
Last month, John Bogusz, executive vice president of sports sales and marketing for CBS Network, acknowledged the decline in the NCAA’s audience during the pandemic. He mentioned that the network had reserved additional ad inventory for marketers in case the network did not meet audience goals.
“We will wait and see how the games work, but we have set aside some inventory to take care of our advertisers if necessary,” Bogusz said.
Lexie Hull # 12 of the Stanford Cardinal blocks the shot of Aari McDonald # 2 of the Arizona Wildcats in the championship game of the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament at Alamodome on April 4, 2021 in San Antonio, Texas.
Ben Solomon | NCAA Photos | fake images
Increase in audience for women’s game
Disney-owned ESPN hosted the women’s tournament, which was held in San Antonio. On Tuesday, he said the title game between Arizona and Stanford drew an average of 4 million viewers on Sunday, peaking at 5.9 million. The network said it was the most watched women’s pageant since 2014.
Stanford beat the Wildcats, 54-53, to win their first NCAA women’s basketball title since 1992.
The network also reported solid numbers around the semifinal games. Stanford’s win over South Carolina drew an average of 1.6 million viewers, while the University of Connecticut’s loss to Arizona had 2.6 million viewers, 24% more than in the second semifinal of 2019.
Disney placed six games from the women’s tournament on its ABC network, marking the first time a broadcast network had broadcast games from the women’s tournament since 1995, when CBS aired some contests.
Iowa’s contest against Connecticut on March 27 was the highest rated of the games, with 1.5 million viewers, followed by the Michigan-Baylor game, with 1.2 million. The network said Sweet 16 contests broadcast on ABC, ESPN and ESPN2 averaged 918,000 viewers, 67% more than in 2019.