Home Entertainment UConn-Iowa Final Four Game Delivers Record Women’s College Basketball Ratings for ESPN

UConn-Iowa Final Four Game Delivers Record Women’s College Basketball Ratings for ESPN

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Caitlin Clark and Co. delivered big-time for ESPN on Friday with a record audience tuning in to the Final Four game that sent the University of Iowa to Sunday’s national championship.

ESPN’s nighttime telecast of UConn-Iowa faceoff delivered an audience of 14.2 million viewers, a new high mark for a women’s college basketball game, per ESPN citing Nielsen data. The game that ended 71-69 was a nail-biter with a one-point margin until the final seconds. The audience turnout topped the short-lived ratings record for a women’s college basketball game of 12.3 million viewers set on April 1 with Iowa’s victory over LSU in the Elite 8 game.

Earlier on Friday, the University of South Carolina defeated North Carolina State to secure its berth in the NCAA women’s basketball national championship game. ESPN’s early evening telecast of that game averaged 7.1 million viewers.

ESPN reported that viewership of UConn-Iowa peaked at 17 million viewers. The NC State-South Carolina matchup topped out at 9 million viewers. The two games together averaged 3.1 million viewers in the adults 18-49 demo, an increase of 130% from last year’s women’s Final Four bouts.

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The NCAA women’s basketball tourney has seized the nation’s attention this year to an unprecedented degree, significantly overshadowing the attention paid to the action in the men’s brackets. Clark’s record-smashing run during the past year helped draw attention to the overwhelming number of stars competing in this year’s tournament, from LSU’s Angel Reese to UConn’s Paige Bueckers to USC’s star freshman JuJu Watkins to the University of South Carolina’s Kamilla Cardoso. Clark, who last month became the highest-scoring basketball player male or female in NCAA history, Reese and Cardoso have declared their intention to contend in the WNBA draft for 2025.