May 23, 2024

Within the extremely anticipated rematch of final yr’s championship recreation, Monday’s Elite Eight battle between LSU and Iowa was the most-watched ladies’s school basketball recreation on TV ever, ESPN mentioned. 

Based on the community, 12.3 million folks tuned in to look at the sport that featured LSU star Angel Reese going up towards Iowa phenom Caitlin Clark. At its peak, it garnered 16.1 million viewers. 

ESPN mentioned that it additionally marked the community’s most-watched basketball recreation since 2012. 

The LSU-Iowa recreation was not the one one getting massive scores for ESPN. The community mentioned this yr’s Elite Eight video games garnered 4 of the 5 largest tv audiences ever for the spherical. 

Monday’s late matchup between UConn and Southern California, which adopted LSU-Iowa, had an viewers of 6.7 million. On Sunday, a matchup between Oregon State and South Carolina had 3.1 million viewers, whereas the N.C. State vs. Texas recreation had 2.5 million viewers. 

This yr’s Last 4 can have Iowa vs. UConn and N.C. State towards South Carolina. 

“You bought 4 nice applications coming to the Last 4,” Iowa coach Lisa Bluder advised reporters on Tuesday. “I believe there was numerous consideration on each video games final evening, however definitely there was numerous consideration on our recreation simply because it was a rematch of the nationwide championship final yr.

“Once more, we did not take a look at it like that, however lots of people outdoors of our program did. So I am certain the viewership was excessive. I believe all people that was right here within the area appeared to have a very good time and loved the sport. Anytime that we now have the prospect to raise ladies’s basketball and to showcase simply how nice our recreation is, we’ll take full benefit of that.”

Tv viewership was additionally up for the lads’s Elite Eight, the NCAA mentioned. Sunday’s matchup between Duke and N.C. State had over 15 million viewers, marking the most important tv viewers for an Elite Eight recreation in 5 years. 

The NCAA mentioned males’s March Insanity video games have averaged 9.4 million viewers throughout CBS, TNT, TBS and TruTV, which is up 4% from a yr in the past. 

Though the lads’s recreation confirmed some progress this yr, Bluder believes there’s a motive the ladies’s recreation is catching up when it comes to reputation. 

“I believe the rise has occurred largely because of we’re getting extra media protection,” Bluder mentioned. “I imply, when no one is aware of about you, it is exhausting to get fan assist, it is exhausting to get enthusiasm behind your program. However as a result of we’re on nationwide tv now, as a result of we’re within the highlight extra as a sport, as ladies’s basketball, persons are speaking about it. Persons are recognizing how good of a recreation it’s. Individuals get to know these stars.

“Within the males’s recreation, they’re there for one yr after which they depart, the most effective gamers. Within the ladies’s recreation, they’re staying for 4 years. I believe that is actually good for them as a result of they will actually develop their model, nevertheless it’s additionally good for our sport as a result of the most effective gamers are nonetheless round as seniors and never enjoying within the league immediately.”

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