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Tournament TV Ratings Suffer Two-Day Decline

March 23, 2003|From Associated Press

With viewers drawn to war coverage, the first two nights of the NCAA tournament had TV audiences roughly a quarter smaller than last year.

CBS Sports' broadcasts from 4 p.m. to about 9 p.m. on Thursday and Friday averaged a 4.8 overnight rating, compared with 6.3 in 2002. That's a drop of 23.8%.

During that time slot Friday night, overall cable viewership was 26% higher than during the equivalent period a year ago.

On Friday, the 4 p.m. game on CBS drew a 4.2 overnight rating, a 32% drop from last year on the second night of the three-week tournament. The 6:45 p.m. game got a 4.9, a decline of 14%.

CBS has moved some games to cable channel ESPN so the broadcaster's news division can air war coverage. For Today, CBS worked out arrangements with ESPN, ESPN2, TNN, TBS and TNT so NCAA games could be shifted if necessary.

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University of Georgia officials are looking into further allegations of improprieties in the men's basketball program, this time involving a high school recruit. Officials are investigating charges that Ernest Shanks Jr., a Colquitt County High guidance counselor, asked a student to take the Scholastic Assessment Test for Georgia recruit Alexander Johnson.

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