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UCF-Duke Basketball Game Was the Highest-Rated UCF Sporting Event of All Time

NCAA Second Round thriller grabs massive number on CBS.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Second Round-Duke vs UCF
We still can’t believe it either.
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

The UCF Knights’ classic NCAA Tournament second-round basketball game against Duke on Sunday was the highest-rated UCF sporting event of all time.

The Knights’ heartbreaking 77-76 loss to #1 Duke picked up an 8.8 national TV rating overnight on CBS.

Total viewership numbers were not yet disclosed.

According to the CBS/Turner press release, Sunday’s third game telecast window from 5:15-9:15 p.m. Eastern got an 11.9 rating and 24 share, 35% higher than last year (8.8/18), and it was the second-highest rating for that window in 29 years (12.1/23 in 2017).

But that also includes two other games on in the same window on TNT and TBS.

Monday, Sports Business Daily’s Austin Karp tweeted out the numbers for the individual games over the weekend, and UCF-Duke took the cake:

Given the rating, it’s likely the game had more viewers than any UCF Football game ever, besting the 2014 Fiesta Bowl by a wide margin. The final half-hour of the UCF-Duke game which was in the primetime 7pm hour garnered 16.18 million viewers according to

Here is a breakdown.

  1. UCF vs. Duke (NCAA Tournament): 8.8 rating/ 12.88 million viewers
  2. UCF vs. Baylor (2014 Fiesta Bowl): 6.6/11.3 million
  3. UCF vs. LSU 2019 Fiesta Bowl: 5.0/8.4 million
  4. UCF vs. Auburn (2018 Peach Bowl: 5.0/8.3 million
  5. South Florida vs. UCF (2017): 3.2/4.7 million

* ESTIMATE. Number of national viewers will be updated once we get an official number.

In the Central Florida DMA (Orlando-Daytona Beach-Melbourne), UCF-Duke drew a local rating of 12.2 and was watched by more than 200,000 viewers, making it the most-watched UCF Basketball game locally of all-time, passing the previous record of Friday night’s win over VCU, which had an 8.0 local rating and 114,314 viewers. That game is in the top ten of most-watched UCF sporting events locally and the 6th-most watched UCF event nationally. The Knights’ win over VCU picked up some 3.3 million viewers on CBS.

Here’s how the local TV ratings in Orlando compare:

  1. 2014 Fiesta Bowl vs. Baylor - 17.0
  2. 2018 Peach Bowl vs. Auburn - 16.0
  3. 2019 Fiesta Bowl vs. LSU - 14.0
  4. 2019 NCAA Tournament vs. Duke - 12.2
  5. 2013 Football vs. South Carolina - 11.5
  6. 2017 Black Friday vs. USF 2017 - 11.1
  7. 2018 AAC Championship Game vs. Memphis - 10.7