If the UConn’s dominance is bad for women’s basketball, someone must have forgotten to tell viewers in the tri-state area.
A lot of that viewership comes from Connecticut, where the Huskies are reportedly averaging a 5.56 household rating, up 14 percent from last year, but that alone wouldn’t likely be enough to drive the strong ratings on SNY, which serves the entire New York area. People in New York and New Jersey must be tuning in as well.
UConn has currently won 96 straight games, a college basketball record, and though the current team lacks a transcendent star, the program’s brand under Geno Auriemma is more than strong enough to keep interest up.
These types of ratings show that the popular narrative of UConn ruining women’s basketball by being too good is entirely backwards. The Huskies’ historic dominance draws attention to women’s basketball, gets the sport onto SportsCenter and serves as an entry point for potential fans.
NBA-level ratings for UConn games also send a message to media outlets that ignore women’s basketball that an audience exists for the sport. And with a little more attention from the media, interest would presumably only grow. Maybe we’d all be better served with a little less focus on crappy NBA match-ups and more focus on dominance in women’s basketball.