Women's NCAA title game had 18.9 million viewers, outdrawing men's championship

In a historic moment for women's college basketball, the NCAA women's championship game drew a larger television audience than the men's title game for the first time. The matchup between undefeated South Carolina and Iowa, featuring standout player Caitlin Clark, attracted an average of 18.9 million viewers. This outpaced the men's final between UConn and Purdue by four million viewers.

The women's game, which saw South Carolina secure their fourth national title, peaked at 24.1 million viewers during the final 15 minutes. This marked a significant increase in viewership compared to previous years. The audience for the national title game was up 90% from the previous year and 289% larger than the Gamecocks' title win two years ago.

Former CBS Sports president Neal Pilson noted the spike in interest, attributing it to the quality of the product and increased exposure of women's basketball. The rise in viewership was also reflected in the NCAA tournament, where Clark and Iowa consistently drew large audiences.

Looking ahead, there is optimism for continued growth in women's basketball. UCLA coach Cori Close emphasized that the increased visibility benefits all women's sports, not just basketball. The success of this year's tournament has paved the way for further growth, with plans for more high-profile games and increased television coverage.

While Caitlin Clark may be moving on to the WNBA, there is a belief that the college game can continue to attract large audiences. With the emergence of talented freshmen and ongoing efforts to promote the sport, there is hope for sustained interest in women's college basketball. As fans and viewers continue to engage with the sport, the future looks promising for women's athletics on a broader scale.


More from Press Rundown