LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — The Louisville television market, as designated by The Nielsen Co., has long been the top local market in the nation for college basketball.

But with the University of Louisville out of the tournament via self-imposed ban and the University of Kentucky bowing out in the second round, the second-weekend numbers -- not surprisingly -- took a significant tumble from the Sweet 16 and Elite Eight numbers a year ago. The Louisville market includes Jefferson County and 26 surrounding counties in Kentucky and Southern Indiana.

Think about this: Last year’s Elite Eight average rating — with both UK and U of L in contention — was a 30.3, with a 47 share. This year’s Elite Eight plummeted to a 13.0 average rating, 21 share, or a 57 percent decrease.

Each ratings point represents 6,750 households in the market and the share represents the percentage of televisions in use at the moment tuned to that program. The numbers are for live and same-day digital video recording viewing, but do not include those who viewed via online streaming.

That decrease, of course, shouldn’t be surprising. A year ago, UK’s undefeated run into the tournament and Louisville’s surprising run to the Elite Eight drew big numbers, according to ratings provided to WDRB by the Nielsen Co.

This year, the most-watched Elite Eight game in the Louisville market was one that took place in Louisville: The CBS broadcast of Villanova’s victory over Kansas this past Sunday night, which drew a 16.5/26 overnight rating from Nielsen.

The second-most watched was Indiana’s Sweet Sixteen loss to North Carolina, which drew a 15.7/26 rating on TBS.

The loss of Kentucky and Louisville in the tournament not only means the loss of big viewing nights for their games (38.4 for UK’s Elite Eight game last season, 37.0 for Louisville’s), but it hurts the numbers for the other games.

For example, last year’s least-watched Elite Eight game, Wisconsin’s win over Arizona, did a better rating (19.0/31) than this year’s most-watched Elite Eight game (16.5/26).

A full comparison of the Sweet Sixteen wasn’t possible, because of an error in transmitting the ratings for the second day of last season’s Sweet Sixteen to WDRB.

But we can see that Kentucky’s Sweet Sixteen game against West Virginia a year ago on CBS drew a larger rating (35.4/52) than all four of this season’s first-night Sweet Sixteen games combined (33/13).

Final Four and title game ratings figure to be down in Louisville this year, with those games moving to TBS.

A look at this year’s ratings in the Louisville market, provided by the Nielsen Co.

ELITE EIGHT:

Villanova-Kansas (CBS) 16.5/26
UNC-Notre Dame (TBS) 14.4/21
Virginia-Syracuse (TBS) 10.8/18
Oklahoma-Oregon (CBS) 10.1/20

SWEET SIXTEEN:

UNC-Indiana (TBS) 15.7/26
Miami-Villanova (CBS) 12.8/18
Maryland-Kansas (CBS) 11.1/18
Iowa State-UVA (CBS) 9.9/17
Gonzaga-Syracuse (CBS) 8.8/14
Duke-Oregon (TBS) 5.9/10
Oklahoma-Texas A&M (TBS) 3.9/6

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