Caitlin Clark Iowa Iowa guard Caitlin Clark (22) reacts as confetti falls after Iowa wins the Big Ten Tournament championship game at the Target Center on Sunday, March 10, 2024, in Minneapolis, Minn.

In what is becoming a regular occurrence, Caitlin Clark and the Iowa Hawkeyes delivered a huge audience for one of their games.

Iowa’s win over Nebraska in the Big Ten Championship on Sunday averaged 3.02 million viewers on CBS, good for the second-most-watched women’s game of the season (and the second-most-watched regular season game since 1999). A week ago, Fox averaged 3.39 million viewers for Iowa’s win over Ohio State.

Additionally, this is the fifth-most-watched college basketball game, either men’s or women’s, this season.

The Big Ten Championship this year quadrupled viewership for last year, when Iowa’s 33-point win over Ohio State averaged 745,000 viewers on ESPN.

Earlier in the Big Ten Tournament, the Big Ten Network drew its two largest audiences ever for women’s college basketball. Iowa’s win over Penn State on Friday averaged 1.04 million viewers, and the Hawkeyes’ win over Michigan on Saturday averaged 1.08 million.

Sunday also saw a tripleheader of women’s tournament finals on ESPN, which all saw increases from last year. Notre Dame-NC State in the ACC Championship averaged 679,000 viewers, partly going head-to-head with Iowa-Nebraska, a 41% increase from last year. South Carolina-LSU in the SEC Championship averaged 1.96 million viewers, more than doubling last year’s audience for South Carolina-Tennessee (866,000). In the Pac-12 Championship, USC’s win over Stanford averaged 1.44 million viewers, more than five times higher than Washington State-UCLA last year on ESPN2 (257,000).

Heading into the NCAA Tournament next week, the women’s game is on fire. I’m sure everyone is hoping for an Iowa-South Carolina matchup in the title game, and the storyline of Caitlin Clark attempting to end the Gamecocks’ unbeaten season. An Iowa-LSU rematch somewhere along the line would also be ideal, given the matchup’s record viewership in last year’s title game.

[Data via Sports Media Watch]

About Joe Lucia

I hate your favorite team. I also sort of hate most of my favorite teams.