NEW YORK -- The NCAA tournament's first week has earned its highest television rating in 15 years.
The broadcasts on CBC, TBS, TNT and truTV averaged a 5.8 household rating and 12 share, the highest rating for the tournament's first week since 1998. That year, the rating was 5.9 and 15 share.
The networks say that's up 27 percent from last year's 5.6 and 11.
The broadcasts also had the highest viewership since 1993, averaging 8.9 million total viewers -- a 9 percent increase from a year ago.
The third-round games on Sunday averaged a 7.1 and 14 share, the highest for the tournament's first Sunday since 2000 when it had a 7.2 and 17 share and up 27 percent from last year's 5.6 and 11.
This is the third season of CBS and Turner's 14-year, $10.8 billion contract to televise every game of the tournament in its entirety.
Ratings represent the percentage of all homes with televisions tuned to a program. Shares represent the percentage of all homes with TVs in use at the time.