Iowa Colorado Sweet 16 Mar 30, 2024; Albany, NY, USA; Iowa Hawkeyes guard Caitlin Clark (22) shoots the ball on Colorado Buffaloes guard Jaylyn Sherrod (0) in the semifinals of the Albany Regional of the 2024 NCAA Tournament at the MVP Arena. Mandatory Credit: Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

You’ll be stunned to learn another game involving Caitlin Clark and the Iowa Hawkeyes hit another viewership record.

On Saturday, Iowa’s win over Colorado in the Sweet 16 averaged 6.87 million viewers on ABC, marking the second most-watched women’s college basketball game since 1995. The lone game ahead of it is last year’s LSU-Iowa championship game, which averaged nearly ten million viewers.

The success of the Sweet 16 round wasn’t limited to Iowa’s game. LSU’s win over UCLA airing Saturday on ABC averaged 3.83 million viewers, behind just Iowa-Colorado in recorded viewership for the Sweet 16.  Over on cable, ESPN averaged 1.98 million viewers for UConn’s win over Duke and 1.70 million for USC’s win over Baylor.

On Friday, South Carolina’s Sweet 16 win over Indiana averaged 2.11 million, while Oregon State’s upset win over Notre Dame averaged 1.20 million. The two primetime windows on Friday were the only two of the round to see declines from last season: NC State’s upset win over Stanford averaged 1.16 million viewers, and Texas’ win over Gonzaga averaged 683,000.

Overall, the Sweet 16 as a whole was the most-watched edition of the round ever, averaging 2.4 million viewers. That’s nearly double last year’s audience, which was the most-watched Sweet 16 on record.

Through the Sweet 16 the tournament as a whole is averaging 1.1 million viewers, a 104% increase from last year. The 2023 tournament was the most-watched edition since 2009. With Iowa still alive, on the brink of an epic matchup with unbeaten South Carolina in the title game, we’re probably going to need to update the record book again next week.

[ESPN, Sports Media Watch]

About Joe Lucia

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