Final Four ratings down from '99
Posted: Sunday April 02, 2000 09:42 PM
NEW YORK (AP) -- Ratings for the NCAA men's basketball tournament semifinals were down from last year.
The Wisconsin-Michigan State opener Saturday scored an 8.8 national rating, a drop of 4 percent from 1999, while Florida-North Carolina drew a 10.2, a decrease of 6 percent.
The tournament-to-date ratings also are down, Nielsen Media Research said Sunday, with a 6.2 compared to last year's 6.4, a 3 percent slide.
The shares recorded for Saturday's Final Four games -- the percentage of the nation's televisions tuned to a telecast among those TVs on at the time -- were a 21 for the first game, a 19 for the second. Last year's shares were 21 and 20, respectively.
"Given the quality of play and the regional nature of the teams, these numbers are encouraging," CBS Sports spokeswoman LeslieAnne Wade said. "Year to year there are vagaries. There are stories or teams that will capture everybody's imagination. Sometimes it doesn't break that way. There isn't always a clear reason for what the ratings do."
The 1999 tournament as a whole finished with a 6.8 rating, down 7 percent from 1998 and the lowest since CBS started airing the NCAAs in 1982.
That didn't stop the network from agreeing in November to pay $6 billion for a new 11-year contract, which takes effect in 2003.
A rating is the percentage of the nation's estimated 100.8 million TV homes tuned to a broadcast.