Loyola-Chicago Looks to Make History as Streaming Growth Continues

By Magna Archives
Cover image for  article: Loyola-Chicago Looks to Make History as Streaming Growth Continues

With only the Final Four and the National Championship remaining, it's unlikely that the 2018 NCAA Tournament will be able to recover the linear TV audience lost since last year.  Through the Elite 8, younger demos have been the hardest hit, with older demos experiencing more modest declines.  However, with live streaming activity increasing once again, it's safe to assume that at least some of those young adults are catching the action that way.

Outside of the streams themselves, plenty of story lines have developed over the last two rounds, giving viewers a lot to talk about in social forums.

Sweet 16

Though the Sweet 16 saw a mixed bag of results across Thursday and Friday of last week, there were two windows that did grow over the same period last year.  No. 9 seed Kansas State upset eight-time NCAA Tournament winner Kentucky 61-58, and Loyola-Chicago continued their remarkable run by defeating No. 7 Nevada 69-68 in a nail-biter.  These results helped boost CBS' and TBS's coverage of the second Thursday window among most demos, with adults 25-54 seeing an eight percent gain.

Over in the East and Midwest divisions, heavyweights Villanova and Kansas defeated No. 5 West Virginia and Clemson, respectively.  Though both games did little to help ratings, having such powerhouse schools involved in the final stages of the tournament with the potential to face underdog Loyola-Chicago certainly could be a boon for the networks, which would like to bring back some of the more passive viewers.

Elite 8

The East and Midwest divisions saw the usual prospects duking it out, with No. 1 Kansas defeating No. 2 Duke.  No. 1 Villanova soundly beat No. 3 Texas Tech 71-59, setting up a match-up for the ages this coming Saturday evening.

On the other side of the bracket, viewers turned on their TV screens to catch tournament Cinderella Loyola-Chicago achieve yet another upset, this time defeating No. 9 Kansas State 78-62.  That victory helped grow all demos early Saturday evening, with adults 18-49 growing by 33 percent.  This is the first time since 1963 that the Chicago outfit has progressed this far in the NCAA Tournament.

That growth continued on into Saturday evening, as viewers looked to see if No. 9 Florida State could continue their incredible run and upset No. 3 Michigan.  Though Florida State's run was ultimately cut short, their efforts helped grow ratings among all key demos.


Last week, both Turner and CBS experienced issues in processing their streaming data, but finally got it back up and running, with initial results confirming our suspicions.  Through the first day of the Sweet 16 (3/22), there have been 71.4 million live streams and 14.2 million live streaming hours accumulated.  Of those streaming hours, 3.9 million came from mobile devices and 2.5 million from OTT devices, up 29 and 12 percent, respectively.

Though PC is the primary source of these streaming hours, making up 55 percent of total consumption, it is still fairly significant that OTT makes up about 18 percent.  The NCAA viewer is often characterized as on-the-go, trying to catch as many games as possible on their portable devices, but it's clear the living room still holds value for modern fans.


With so many upsets, viewers have had plenty to talk about on Twitter, with the 2018 NCAA Tournament garnering just over 209,000 more emotional reactions compared to the same time-frame last tournament, according to data from Canvs.  The reaction rate, as well as a host of other specific emotional reactions, have remained relatively flat.

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