Women's NCAA Tournament TV Ratings Are Through The Roof

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Women's NCAA Tournament Ratings Are Through The Roof

Women’s NCAA Tournament TV Ratings Are Through The Roof


The Women’s NCAA Tournament wrapped up its first weekend on Monday and it was a smashing success for ESPN. 

The First Round games averaged 257,000 viewers which is up 27 percent from the 2022 Tournament. Four games eclipsed 400,000 viewers, led by the two biggest historical bluebloods. 639,000 viewers watched Tennessee beat St. Louis, and 636,000 people watched UCONN take down Vermont. Louisville vs Drake and South Carolina vs Norfolk State were the other games with over 400,000 viewers.

The Women’s NCAA Tournament has been a steady ratings mover for ESPN for a couple of years now, so much so they’re putting more games on ABC. That move has been a success. The Tennessee and UCONN first round games were on ABC, as were a couple of second round games that had good audiences.

Iowa vs Georgia nearly averaged 1.5 million viewers and South Carolina’s win over USF averaged over a million viewers. The full ratings for the second round aren’t out yet, but four more second round games eclipsed the 400,000 viewer mark including Ole Miss’ upset of one-seed Stanford.

It isn’t fair to compare TV ratings for the Women’s NCAA Tournament and the men’s edition. The men’s tournament has been a cultural phenomenon for more than 40 years and the men’s game has a lot more money behind it. It’s also undeniable that the women’s game is steadily growing in popularity.

Women’s NCAA Tournament Ratings Have Been Rising For Years

Last year’s title game between South Carolina and UCONN was watched by an average of 4.85 million viewers. That was the largest audience for the title game since 2004 and the fourth-largest audience for the title game since 1996. Last year’s title game rating was up 18 percent over the previous year and 30 percent from 2019.

Women’s basketball, and women’s sports overall, has seen a big increase in viewership over the past few years. The WNBA saw a ratings jump of 68 percent in its “Wubble”. The WNBA and the NWSL were the only professional sports leagues that saw their TV ratings increase during the pandemic year of 2020.

It’s reasonable to expect the ratings to continue to grow for the Women’s NCAA Tournament. This year’s championship game will be broadcast on ABC for the first time at 3:00 pm Eastern on Sunday, April 2nd.

Author: Dan Weiner

Hailing from Atlanta and attending college at the University of Texas, Dan is passionate about sports, particularly college football and soccer. He's a diehard Atlanta pro sports and Texas Longhorns fan. He likes every sport and will watch anything and everything the weirder the better. He joined Betsperts after an 11 year career in television production at ESPN.