ESPN’s regular season college basketball ratings were up 15 percent year-over-year, the company announced today. And if you’re sitting there thinking, ‘hey, I wonder if the transcendent Zion Williamson and Duke had anything to do with this,” congratulations on having very good instincts.
Duke games were up 30 percent from last year, elevating the increase for all viewership, as other games were up six percent.
The Blue Devils were featured in five of ESPN’s six-most watched games this year. Atop the list is the North Carolina game in which Williamson suffered his knee injury, and last Saturday’s rematch. Games against Virginia checked in at 3-4, and the Syracuse matchup immediately following the Williamson incident was sixth.
Some things just make sense, you know? Put a generational talent on a polarizing team, pair him with a legendary coach, see late-season drama develop, and people are somewhat into it.
ESPN and other networks should simply will this confluence of events into existence every year, sit back, and enjoy the perks. Simple as that.