The South Carolina Gamecocks pose for a photo after beating Maryland in the NCAA Women’s Elite Eight Basketball Tournament at Bon Secours Wellness Arena in Greenville, S.C. Monday, March 27, 2023. Gre Ml Ncaaelite8uscvmd 03272023 009

The 2023 NCAA Women’s Tournament continues to deliver impressive audiences for ESPN’s networks.

On Tuesday, ESPN announced that the eight Sweet 16 games on Friday and Saturday averaged a record 1.2 million viewers. The round was led by Ohio State’s win over UConn on ABC Saturday afternoon, which averaged a record 2.414 million viewers.

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South Carolina’s win over UCLA on ESPN Saturday afternoon averaged 1.753 million viewers, the second most-watched Sweet 16 game on record. Three other games in the round topped a million viewers: Colorado-Iowa on ESPN Friday night (1.288 million, head to head with Miami-Houston in the men’s tournament), Notre Dame-Maryland on ESPN Saturday afternoon (1.231 million), and LSU-Utah on ESPN Friday night (1.099 million).

The Elite Eight also drew record viewership for ESPN.

Three of the four games topped two million viewers. LSU-Miami on Sunday was the low game on the slate, averaging 1.894 million viewers on ESPN. Iowa-Louisville, which started at 9:20 PM on ESPN Sunday night, averaged a tournament-high 2.499 million viewers, which was a record for the round. On Monday, South Carolina-Maryland averaged 2.167 million viewers on ESPN, followed by 2.233 million for Virginia Tech-Ohio State. That’s an average of 2.198 million viewers for the round, the most-watched Elite Eight on record.

Following these viewership numbers, the cries for the NCAA to unbundle the Women’s Tournament and sell its rights separately will only grow louder.

About Joe Lucia

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