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April 7, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

While CBS may have been pleased with the ancillary results of its coverage of Monday night’s NCAA men’s basketball championship (see separate item), it must have been sending up a cheer louder than those of Duke university fans after final Nielsen figures revealed that its regular network averaged nearly 24 million viewers, the biggest audience for an NCAA basketball championship since 1999, when 26.3 million viewers tuned in to watch Duke lose to the University of Connecticut, translating to a 14.2 rating and a 23 share. The overall result was up a whopping 31 percent from last year. In addition, Nielsen said that about 48.1 million people viewed at least six minutes of the game, the highest number since 1997. For the entire “March Madness” coverage, 134.3 million viewers watched all or part of the telecasts, up 4 percent from last year’s 128.9 million.