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Opening day of March Madness 2023 scores best ratings in nearly a decade

march madness 2023
Credit: Russell Lansford-USA TODAY Sports

Day one of March Madness 2023 was a hit for the NCAA with the beloved yearly tournament delivering some phenomenal ratings on Thursday.

March Madness 2023 is in full swing and of course, has drawn the interest of casual college basketball fans and amateur bracketologists around the country. Unsurprisingly, the first day of the NCAA tournament immediately delivered wild upsets as 15-seed Furman stunned Virginia and upset specialists Princeton knocked off Arizona.

Related: College basketball games today – Get watch times for the days tournament action

And it seems more fans than usual were actually tuning in for those and the other games on the college basketball schedule for the tournament’s afternoon slate.

On Friday, Front Office Sports reported that the opening afternoon of games for March Madness 2023 averaged 8.4 million viewers. The number is up 2% from last year and was actually the best number for the first day of games in eight years.

march madness 2023
Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The NCAA tournament matchups that aired across Warner Bros./Discovery networks CBS Sports, TBS, TNT, and truTV saw a combined 15% jump from 2022 when it came to the earliest set of games on Thursday. The early games, which are often missed by fans at school or work, actually pulled in an impressive average of 6.8 million viewers.

In general, there seemed to be a higher interest level in this year’s tournaments, as a joint broadcast of the Men’s Selection Show for March Madness 2023 averaged a strong 5.1 million viewers on Sunday night. A 3% increase from last year’s selection show.

For original content on cable yesterday, NCAA tournament action dominated all but one of the top 20 spots for the day (via Show Buzz Daily). March Madness 2023 started on March 14 with a pair of “first four” games and will run through the month until the championship game on April 3.

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