March Madness opening day attracts its biggest TV audience in EIGHT years with 8.4 million viewers tuning in… beating the 6.3 million people who watched February’s NFL’s Pro Bowl

The opening day of March Madness was watched by a whopping 8.4 million people – it’s biggest TV audience in eight years.

CBS Sports, TBS, TNT and truTV all showcased the college basketball opener on Thursday and the viewership was up by two percent from last year’s edition, according to Front Office Sports

The 2022 MLB All-Star Game on Fox Sports was reportedly watched by 7.5 million while the NFL’s re-designed Pro Bowl in February attracted just 6.3 million viewers.

Thursday’s opener also recorded its most-viewed early afternoon slot of all time as the broadcasts drew in 6.8 million viewers on average. That number was an increase of 15 percent on last season. 

Furman’s bracket-busting last-second win over No. 4 seed Virginia in NCAA Tournament first round surely only helped.

Furman kickstarted the March Madness by causing the first upset by defeating Virginia

Furman kickstarted the March Madness by causing the first upset by defeating Virginia

An historic shot gave the Paladins their first NCAA Tournament victory since 1974 Thursday

An historic shot gave the Paladins their first NCAA Tournament victory since 1974 Thursday

The men’s and women’s Selection Shows on CBS and ESPN on Sunday also lured in more viewers than 2022. 

An average of 5.1 million fans tuned in for the men’s version, an increase of three per cent from last season’s edition.

While the women’s program attracted 1.27 million people – an 18 percent rise on the amount of people that watched it last year on a Monday evening. 

No. 13 seed Furman handed Virginia another first-round NCAA Tournament loss, 68-67 on Thursday. 

JP Pegues made a three-pointer with 2.4 seconds remaining to help Furman complete a rally from a 12-point second-half deficit. 

Making their first trip to the NCAA Tournament in 43 years, the Paladins (28-7) advanced to the second round in the South Region, where they play San Diego State today.



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