Apr 8, 2023; Tampa, Florida, USA; Quinnipiac celebrates after beating Minnesota in overtime to win the national championship game of the 2023 Frozen Four college ice hockey tournament at Amalie Arena. Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Following its record-breaking audiences during the NCAA Women’s Tournament, ESPN enjoyed another viewership boost for college sports.

Last week’s Frozen Four brought ESPN the best audience for a Frozen Four since 2011. Quinnipiac’s overtime win over Minnesota in the National Championship also averaged 808,000 viewers on ESPN2 Saturday night, the most-watched title game since 2011 and up a full 100% from last season’s matchup between Denver and Minnesota State.


Last year’s game also aired in primetime on ESPN2, averaging 404,000 viewers.

I think what the success of the Frozen Four, and the women’s basketball tournament, shows is that there is plenty of value in college sports other than football and major conference basketball. As we’ve mentioned numerous times, ESPN has all of these championship events locked up under a long-term deal signed a decade ago, and it’s coming up for renewal in the near future. Even if the women’s basketball tournament is split out and sold separately like the men’s tournament is, championship events in sports like hockey, gymnastics, and baseball should draw plenty of interest from networks, especially those looking to fill hours on their linear networks and add content to their streaming platforms.

About Joe Lucia

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