ESPN Platforms Score Their Most-Watched Men’s College Basketball Regular Season in Four Years

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ESPN Platforms Score Their Most-Watched Men’s College Basketball Regular Season in Four Years

  • 350-plus game schedule on ABC/ESPN/ESPN2 registers best regular season since 2018-19, up six percent 2021-22
  • ESPN networks deliver 57 games of at least a million viewers, compared to 46 a year ago

With a schedule that featured thrilling action on the court and marquee matchups from all the top conferences, ESPN platforms scored their most-watched men’s college basketball regular season in four years in 2022-23.

The 350-plus games on ABC, ESPN and ESPN2 delivered the most-watched regular season across ESPN networks since 2018-19. Overall viewership averaged 554,000 viewers (P2+), a six percent increase, while adults 18-49 rose eight percent to 192,000 viewers.

  • ABC delivered its most-watched regular season in the last four years. Its five regular season games averaged 938,000 viewers and 247,000 adults 18-49, increases of 41 percent and 33 percent, respectively.
  • ESPN’s regular season (131 games) averaged 955,000 viewers and 348,000 among adults 18-49s, gains of three and four percent, respectively, notching the network’s most-viewed regular season since 2019-20.
  • ESPN2 (217 games) averaged 299,000 viewers, up seven percent, for its most-watched regular season since 2018-19.

ESPN’s 15 Sonic Blockbuster games this season averaged 1.7 million viewers, while ESPN networks finished with 57 total games of at least one million viewers, compared to 46 games a year ago. Across the industry, ESPN presented five of the top 10 men’s college basketball audiences and 10 of the top 20 in 2022-23.

On Saturday (March 4), ESPN’s Duke-North Carolina telecast delivered 2.6 million viewers (peaking at 3.4 million), the third most-viewed game of season on any network – and the second most-viewed on ESPN networks, behind only the previous UNC-Duke rivalry game on February 4 (2.855 million viewers). In all, ESPN’s five games on Saturday averaged 1.4 million viewers, the network’s second-best Saturday of the men’s college season.

ESPN’s Biggest Audiences of the 2022-23 Men’s College Basketball Season:

Rank Matchup Date Viewers
1. North Carolina-Duke Feb. 4, 2023 2,855,000
2. Duke-North Carolina Mar. 4, 2023 2,628,000
3. Kentucky-Michigan State* Nov. 15, 2022 2,026,000
4. Purdue-Indiana Feb. 4, 2023 2,026,000
5. Kansas-Kentucky** Jan. 28, 2023 1,890,000
6. Virginia-North Carolina Feb. 25, 2023 1,866,000
7. Duke-Virginia Feb. 11, 2023 1,745,000
8. Florida-Kentucky Feb. 4, 2023 1,719,000
9. Indiana-Michigan Feb. 11, 2023 1,682,000
10. Kentucky-Tennessee Jan. 14, 2023 1,666,000

* Champions Classic (Indianapolis); ** Big 12/SEC Challenge 

ESPN’s men’s college basketball coverage continues with Champ Week Presented by Principal as 25 conference champions will be crowned exclusively on ESPN platforms thru March 12.


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