Despite the relatively uneventful couple of games the tournament opened up with this year, March Madness has experienced fantastic ratings that seem to get better as the tournament goes on. As a website that puts in a lot of effort to bring you the most precise and accurate TV ratings, we’ve decided to dig in a bit deeper to find out the biggest reasons how March Madness is taking over TV ratings this year.
A Short Glimpse of The Previous Tournaments
It’s no secret that March Madness ratings have slowly been declining over the last couple of years. Last year’s March Madness opening was pacing for an all-time low and experienced relatively modest ratings overall. As it’s the case most of the time, this can be explained by the poor quality of games during the 2018 edition of the tournament, and probably the most lopsided NCAA Championship in recent memory.
But, this year it all seems to have changed. This year’s March Madness has recorded near record-breaking numbers so far, as the tournament is currently experiencing the second-best TV ratings since 1991 and the expansion of the TV format. Even though the tournament started relatively slowly, it has managed to pick up over the first few games and is now on track to become one of the most exciting tournaments of the year. So, what are the biggest reasons for the NCAA’s rising popularity this year?
Growing Popularity Among all Fans
With 68 basketball teams from all over the USA, the NCAA Tournament is the most exciting and high-stakes college competition in the country. The competition is called ‘March Madness’ for a reason. It’s a high-stakes competition where anyone can beat anyone, as the championship uses a single-game elimination format. This means that there is no room for error and that even the biggest teams can go home in the early stages. Such a format has kept many basketball viewers glued to their screens day in and day out, as it’s a much more exciting variation of the NBA Playoffs 7-game format.
The euphoria caught on all types of sports fans, even those who like to bet on their favorite teams. Of course, March Madness betting is nothing new, as it has been around for years. Going by the numbers, just last year alone, sports bettors have placed more than $300 million on NCAA games. This year, online betting seems to be bigger than ever. This is mainly due to the convenience of it, as nowadays bettors and casino players can bet easier than ever. Sports bettors and casino players like to use PayPal, credit cards and other payment methods to conveniently play online.
What’s particularly interesting about this year’s season is that even the regular season games were on the up compared to previous years. This proves the widespread opinion that college basketball is becoming more mainstream and brings down the myth that the NCAA significantly lacks in quality of games compared to the NBA. According to ESPN, the NCAA has seen some amazing ratings during this regular season, with games between Duke and North Carolina bringing in more than 4 million viewers both times the two teams met.
Will this Year’s March Madness Finish on a Strong Note?
As we’ve found out before, March Madness is on pace for a very successful season ratings-wise. Moreover, after the slow start, the tournament is picking up as it draws to an end and getting more exciting with each passing game. This year’s schedule is also better set up for higher ratings as there are no big holidays during the tournament, unlike the previous NCAA editions, as this year’s Easter isn’t until April 21st, well after the tournament is finished.
Everything is in place for one of the most entertaining and exciting editions of the NCAA, all we have to do is sit back and enjoy as much of college basketball as we can until the Championship game on April 8.