LOS ANGELES -- Duke's victory over Michigan in Monday night's NCAA championship game was the sport's most-watched game, college or pro, in U.S. television history, according to figures released yesterday by the A.C. Nielsen Co.
CBS' coverage of the Blue Devils' 71-51 triumph was seen in 20.9 million households, topping the 19.8 million that viewed Villanova's 1985 upset of Georgetown. The pro record is 18.8 million for the seventh game of the 1988 NBA Finals between the Los Angeles Lakers and Detroit Pistons.
Monday's game drew a 22.7 rating, the highest since a 23.3 in 1985. The 1979 Indiana State-Michigan State final, which featured future NBA stars Larry Bird and Magic Johnson, remains the best-rated game, with a 24.1. Duke's 72-65 victory over Kansas last year had a 19.4 rating and was seen in about 18.1 million households.
CBS set another record in Saturday's Duke-Indiana semifinal. It was seen in about 15.4 million households, the largest number to tune in to a semifinal game since the current Saturday-Monday format went into effect in 1973.