TV News: Duke-UVA viewers down for Round 2

duke-uvaESPN didn’t tout the TV ratings for Duke-UVA Round 2 for a reason: the second installment drew less viewers than the first.

The Feb. 9 81-71 Duke win in the matchup of #2 and #3 was still the top-rated show on cable TV for the night, averaging 3.318 million viewers.

But, that was down from Round 1 on Jan. 19, which averaged 3.764 million viewers, making it the highest-rated college basketball game of the year.

Both games had plenty of promo from ESPN, which had its College GameDay show in Durham last month and Charlottesville last weekend.

Both were lead-ins to ESPN’s billion-dollar UFC package.

Which, that one didn’t do so well Saturday night. Even with the push from Duke-UVA, the UFC pay-per-view prelim lost more than half the audience it inherited from the hoops game, averaging just 1.339 million viewers in the prime-time 8-10 p.m. slot.

Round 3, we assume, if it comes, is most likely to come on another Saturday night, March 16, the ACC Tournament Championship Game.

That one would likely break the viewer numbers from January.

Story by Chris Graham

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Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, by Jerry Ratcliffe and Chris Graham, is available for $25.

The book, with additional reporting by Zach Pereles, Scott Ratcliffe and Scott German, will take you from the aftermath of the stunning first-round loss to UMBC in 2018, and how coach Tony Bennett and his team used that loss as the source of strength, through to the ACC regular-season championship, the run to the Final Four, and the thrilling overtime win over Texas Tech to win the 2019 national title, the first in school history.
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