Through the first two games of the three game Women’s College World Series, Florida and Michigan have combined to bring boatloads of viewers to ESPN.
Game 1’s average viewership was 1.542 million to go along with a 1.0 rating, good for the most-watched Game 1 of the Women’s College World Series ever. Game 2’s overnight rating was 1.2, the highest overnight for a college softball game since Game 2 of the 2007 Final between Tennessee and Arizona. Through two games, the games are averaging a 1.1 overnight, the second-highest overnight for the first two games since that aforementioned 2007 series.
Additionally, the Game 1 total viewership and Game 2 overnight were up 37% and 33% respectively from the 2014 Final between Alabama and Florida.
I don’t think these solid numbers through two games are surprising. This past weekend’s bracket round resulted in ESPN picking up their two most-viewed bracket round games ever (LSU-Michigan, 1.95 million and UCLA-Auburn, 1.612 million), and their second-most viewed bracket round ever (an average of 1.055 million, second to just 2011’s 1.114 million average). That LSU-Michigan game is also the third most-watched Women’s College World Series game ever, behind Tennessee-Arizona Game 3 in 2007 and Michigan-UCLA Game 3 in 2005.
Given all of these strong numbers and how compelling the first two games of the series between Florida and Michigan have been, could we see a new record set during this game? I’d say there’s a definite possibility. The series is at a strong level through two games and won’t go backwards for Game 3. At the very least, two million viewers is a realistic goal, and that would be a fantastic way to finish off the year for softball on ESPN.