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Kansas-UNC title clash caps off March Madness growth

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The University of Kansas' dramatic comeback victory over North Carolina to win the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s Division I men’s basketball tournament averaged 18.1 million viewers across TBS, TNT, and truTV, marking the most-viewed men's title game ever on cable television in the United States.

The Jayhawks’ 72-69 victory on April 4 also drew a 4 per cent increase over last year’s title game between Baylor and Gonzaga on CBS, highlighting the enduring popularity of the March Madness tournament.

The entire men's tournament this year on CBS and Turner averaged 10.7 million viewers, a 13 per cent increase over 2021's total.

The Kansas-North Carolina game was also the third most-watched college basketball game in US cable TV history, with the North Carolina-Duke Final Four semifinal game ranking second all-time with an average of 18.5m viewers.

NCAA March Madness Live also set multiple all-time records, including the largest audience and most minutes consumed for a single game in the streaming service's history. The Kansas-North Carolina title clash netted a peak of 1.6 million concurrent streams, breaking the previous record set just two days before with the semifinal game between the Tar Heels and Duke.

Meanwhile, the women's NCAA women's basketball championship game delivered for ESPN, with South Carolina's 64-49 victory over the University of Connecticut on April 3 averaging 4.85 million viewers to become the most-watched women’s title game since 2004.

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