NCAA women's basketball ratings are up thanks to Caitlin Clark and Iowa Credit: Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

Call it the Caitlin Clark Effect.

After last weekend’s massive home matchup for Clark’s Iowa Hawkeyes against Ohio State, women’s college basketball is now averaging more viewers than NCAA men’s hoops on Fox networks this season.

According to Michael Mulvihill, the president of insights and analytics at Fox Sports, women’s basketball games are averaging 981,000 viewers this season compared with just 946,000 for men’s games.

The Iowa-Ohio State Big Ten matchup, which featured Clark breaking the all-time NCAA scoring record, topped out at more than 4.4 million viewers.

It was the most-watched women’s college game in Fox Sports history.

Clark has been a huge draw for the past two seasons with the Hawkeyes, and Fox has reaped the benefits of its Big Ten basketball package and Clark’s popularity. Fox shares Big Ten broadcast rights with NBC Universal.

While programs like South Carolina, UConn, and LSU remain big draws for women’s college hoops, Clark and Iowa are on another level. The competitiveness of their conference only helps punch up the intrigue around each game.

Last spring, Clark and Iowa helped push the women’s Final Four to record ratings. More than 5.5 million people tuned in as the Hawkeyes scored an upset over South Carolina, and then nearly 10 million watched the national championship game between Iowa and LSU. The title game was the most-watched women’s college basketball game ever.

It will be interesting to see how viewership trends now that Clark is no longer chasing history. Last year’s March Madness viewership is evidence she will be a draw no matter what, but will the Hawkeyes break records again this spring?

Many, likely including Fox Sports execs like Mulvihill, are already wondering what comes after Clark. The popularity of women’s sports is exploding, and Fox and other networks have reaped the benefits. Will the numbers keep trending upward?

[Michael Mulvihill on X]

About Brendon Kleen

Brendon is a Media Commentary staff writer at Awful Announcing. He has also covered basketball and sports business at Front Office Sports, SB Nation, Uproxx and more.