Apr 10, 2024 - News

⛹️‍♀️ Charted: Women's sports surge

Data: Sports Media Watch, Nielsen; Note: 2020 NCAA Championships canceled due to COVID-19; Chart: Axios Visuals

A whopping 18.7 million people watched the South Carolina-Iowa women's NCAA title game on Sunday — a new record for a women's college game and a five-year high for any basketball broadcast, according to ESPN.

State of play: The star power behind Caitlin Clark, LSU's Angel Reese and other women's college players is expected to push newfound interest in the WNBA, which is currently negotiating for a new TV contract beginning in the 2025 season, writes Axios' Sara Fischer.

The intrigue: It's unclear whether the NCAA will continue to draw such high ratings in the absence of some of this season's biggest stars.

  • Last Friday's Final Four game, for example, between N.C. State and South Carolina drew just 7.1 million viewers. That was half of the average audience that tuned into Clark's winning performance against UConn that same evening.
  • On the other hand, South Carolina's title win was driven by freshmen who will return next year and potentially build followings of their own.

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