Does the world really love a good underdog story? If the latest ratings are any indication, the answer is a resounding yes.
The CBS/Turner Sports collaboration has been a major success. Saturday’s broadcast of the Final Four earned an average national household rating/share of 8.9/17, which tied 2010 Final Four as the highest rated semifinal since 2005.
That certainly answers the underdog question. There were many who believed having two mid-majors play each other in a national semifinal would turn viewers off. Not so. Butler has become the latest darling of a little guy the country is following. VCU, which most experts believed shouldn’t have been in the tournament to begin with, came out of nowhere to capture a lot of hearts.
“We are very pleased that this year’s Final Four ratings matched last year’s strong numbers which were the best in five years,” Mike Aresco, Executive Vice President, Programming, CBS Sports said. “We are excited about the Championship game which features two of the most remarkable stories of the season in Connecticut and Butler.”
The 2011 Final Four averaged 15.4 million viewers, which was the highest for the two Final Four games since 2005. Illinois-Louisville and North Carolina-Michigan State averaged 16.6 million viewers.
The Butler-VCU game earned an average household rating/share of 8.3/17. The game averaged 14.2 million viewers, which was the second-highest viewer average for the first Final Four game since the 2006 game between Florida and George Mason (14.5 million).
The second game featuring Connecticut’s victory over Kentucky delivered a 9.5/17 rating. That was the best rating in the window since a 10.9/19 in 2005 (North Carolina-Michigan State). The game averaged 16.7 million viewers, which was the highest viewer average for the second Final Four game since 2005 (17.5 million; North Carolina-Michigan State).