New York — With attention on the war, NCAA Tournament TV ratings were the lowest since CBS began airing the event in 1982.
The championship game's numbers also were the worst for the network, with Syracuse's 81-78 victory Monday night over Kansas University getting a 12.6 preliminary national rating.
That's 16 percent lower than the 15.0 final national rating in 2002 for Maryland's victory over Indiana.
The three weeks of coverage averaged a 5.0 preliminary national rating, 23 percent lower than last year. But this year's number includes some early round action on cable channel ESPN, which reaches about 20 million fewer homes than CBS does.
The rating is the percentage of all homes with TVs, whether or not they are in use.
This was the first tournament under a new deal in which CBS is paying the NCAA $6 billion over 11 years.