The power of the round ball was on display last Thursday when Arizona defeated North Dakota in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.
According to the web site Sports TV Ratings, the game drew an average of 1.418 million viewers to TBS.
That’s possibly the most people to watch a UND sports event on television.
By comparison, UND’s victory over Quinnipiac in the men’s hockey Frozen Four in April 2016 drew an average of 541,000 viewers. UND’s semifinal loss to Boston University in the 2015 Frozen Four had an average of 290,000 viewers and UND’s last-second loss to Minnesota in the 2014 Frozen Four had 471,000 viewers.
Some other TV hockey numbers from last year, according to TV Sports Ratings: UND’s regional hockey victories over Northeastern and Michigan, sending the Fighting Hawks to the Frozen Four in Tampa, drew an average of 55,000 and 186,000 viewers respectively.
UND’s basketball team is the latest North Dakota college team to benefit from national television exposure.
North Dakota State learned about the broad reach of the NCAA basketball tournament when its game against Gonzaga in 2015 drew an average of 2.1 million viewers to TNT.
Some other North Dakota-related TV viewership numbers, all from Sports TV Ratings:
- NDSU vs. Northern Iowa in FCS quarterfinals on ESPN in Dec. 2015 drew an average of 1.644 million viewers, according to Sports TV Ratings. It remains the most-viewed Bison football game.
- NDSU vs. Jacksonville State in FCS title game in Jan. 2016 drew average of 1.35 million.
- NDSU vs. Illinois State in FCS title game in Jan. 2015, 1.44 million viewers.
- NDSU vs. Towson in FCS title game in Jan. 2014, 1.2 million.
- NDSU vs. Sam Houston in Jan. 2013, 1.1 million.
- NDSU vs. Montana in FCS Kickoff game in Aug. 2015 on ESPN, 981,000 viewers.
- NDSU vs. Charleston Southern in FCS Kickoff game in Aug. 2016 on ESPN, 797,000 viewers.
- NDSU vs. Kansas State in Aug. 2013 on Fox Sports 1, 585,000 viewers.