Iowa guard Caitlin Clark (22) waves to the crowd after defeating Georgia in the second round of the NCAA Tournament in Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Sunday, March 19, 2023. The Hawkeyes defeated the Lady Bulldogs, 74-66, to advance to the Sweet Sixteen.

College basketball’s success this past weekend wasn’t just limited to the men’s tournament.

On Tuesday, ESPN announced that the first round of the women’s tournament, airing on Friday and Saturday, averaged 272,000 viewers, up 27% from last year.

Six first round games topped 400,000 viewers, led by a pair of ABC games on Saturday. Tennessee’s win over Saint Louis averaged 639,000 viewers, followed closely by UConn’s win over Vermont, which averaged 636,000 viewers.

Full viewership for the second round, which took place on Sunday and Monday, isn’t currently available. However, two Sunday games on ABC topped a million viewers. Iowa’s win over Georgia averaged 1.457 million viewers, and South Carolina’s win over South Florida averaged 1.139 million viewers. Several other Sunday games topped 400,000 viewers, including Michigan-LSU (676,000 on ESPN), Ole Miss-Stanford (665,000 on ESPN), Arizona-Maryland (497,000 on ESPN), and Mississippi State-Notre Dame (403,000 on ESPN).

Ultimately, while these numbers pale in comparison to those racked up by most of the men’s tournament games on CBS, TBS, TNT, and truTV, it’s an overall strong start, especially when compared to those in prior years.

[Data via ShowBuzz Daily]

About Joe Lucia

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